In Brief

Today’s back pages: Spurs chairman Daniel Levy wages war and Man Utd keep tabs on Matthijs de Ligt

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 1 April

Levy warns of tough times ahead

The dominant story on the back pages is the declaration of Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy that Premier League players will have to take a pay cut before long. 

Levy’s face adorns most of the tabloids after he announced that 550 non-playing staff at Tottenham will take a 20% pay cut - including himself. 

Not that Levy will feel the pinch. As Metro points out, he earned £7m last year - £4m in wages plus £3m for the completion of Tottenham’s stadium move. Nonetheless, Levy is trimming his salary and in doing so he warned of difficult days ahead for the club. 

The Daily Star reports that Levy “wages war” and the Spurs chief said: “We may be the eighth largest club in the world by revenue, according to the Deloitte survey, but all that historical data is totally irrelevant as this virus has no boundaries. 

“I have no doubt we will get through this crisis but life will take some time to get back to normal.”

The Times adds that Levy also appeared to take a thinly veiled dig at star striker Harry Kane, who in a weekend interview intimated he could soon leave Spurs for a more successful club. 

“When I read or hear stories about player transfers this summer like nothing has happened, people need to wake up to the enormity of what is happening around us,” he said. “Football cannot operate in a bubble.”

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United eye de Ligt

The Daily Star and The Times both claim on their back pages that Manchester United have their eyes on Matthijs de Ligt, who has endured what the latter calls “a difficult start to his career with Juventus”. 

The 20-year-old Dutch defender joined the Italian champions last summer from Ajax in a £67.5m move but was subsequently dropped by coach Maurizio Sarri for Merih Demiral at the start of this year. 

According to the Times United have been “keeping tabs on De Ligt” in the knowledge that his agent, Mino Raiola, has a reputation for moving his players to new pastures if he feels they aren’t being valued at their present club.

The Times also says that despite his antics on Sunday morning - when he crashed his car on the way back from a party - Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish is still expected to make the switch to Old Trafford this summer. 

Cricket’s ‘Hundred’ is in jeopardy

The Guardian and the Daily Express are among the papers that report that the coronavirus is likely to delay the launch of The Hundred, the flagship 100-ball competition of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). 

The ECB has unveiled a £60m rescue package for the domestic game and its chief executive, Tom Harrison, has described the present situation as "the biggest challenge the ECB has faced in its history”.

It’s unlikely that any cricket will be played until at least June, a shutdown that will have a disastrous impact on a sport that has been struggling financially for years. 

According to The Guardian, “the prospect of a significant part of the 2020 season being lost appears to have focused minds” and while the Hundred could be pushed back to 2021, one possibility is that of staging international matches behind closed doors. 

The ECB is apparently exploring the “logistical side, including chartering aircraft and quarantining entire hotels”.

Today’s sport headlines

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