In Brief

Back pages: Premier League heads for civil war over pay cuts

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 2 April

Prem wages war

The Times and the Daily Mirror carry the comments on their back pages of MP Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

Knight has accused the Premier League of “living in a moral vacuum” after several clubs furloughed non-playing staff while continuing to pay the astronomical salaries of their players. 

“Wages war” is the Mirror’s headline, as is the Daily Express’s, with both papers reporting that in fact several clubs want to do their bit to help those in the sport less fortunate than themselves. 

And according to the Daily Star there’s going to be a “civil war” in the English top-flight with clubs and players ready to “scrap it out over pay cuts”. 

The Mirror alleges that a campaign has been launched to “try and get all 20 clubs to sign up to a collective bargaining agreement to bring in wage cuts, deferrals and the Government’s furlough scheme”. 

However, the problem is the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), which has allegedly “written to all of its members telling them not to accept wage cuts or deferrals without speaking to them first”.

The Guardian says that during a video conference between senior executives from the leagues and the PFA, the Premier League’s executive director, Bill Bush, “stressed the scale of the financial hit clubs are facing during the suspension of competitions”. 

But the paper says this position cut little ice with PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor, who reportedly said that while they are willing to consider deferrals of wages they will not countenance pay cuts.

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Germany calling Klopp

Daily Star, Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror claim that Germany have earmarked Jurgen Klopp as the successor to Joachim Low. 

Klopp is committed to Liverpool until 2024 but apparently the German Football Association is determined to bring him back home to take over the national team. 

There is a problem, however, explains the Mirror, and that is that Low’s contract expires in 2022 and it’s highly unlikely that the Germans would be able to raise the readies to buy Klopp out of the final two years of his Anfield deal. 

The Daily Mail claims that Klopp is “interested in taking charge of Germany in the future”, but the 52-year-old is highly valued by Liverpool’s owners.

The Fenway Sports Group is “desperate to see him extend his stay even further, and establish a legacy just like Sir Alex Ferguson [at Manchester United]”. 

Wimbledon woe

The news that there will be no Wimbledon this summer makes most of the back pages with the Daily Mirror leading its coverage of the story with Roger Federer’s reaction: “Devastated”. 

The Swiss star has won the championship eight times and has vowed to return next year, as has Andy Murray, who says he’s “sad” at the cancellation. 

The Daily Express plasters Murray on its back page and wonders whether he, Federer and Serena Williams will ever be seen again at the grass-court grand slam given their ages and injury records in recent years.

Stokes seething

The Daily Express reports that England cricket hero Ben Stokes has launched a broadside at what he calls the “utter lies” being spread about him and some of his teammates. 

A report on ESPNCricinfo alleged that England’s centrally contracted players had “declined the offer to accept a temporary pay cut” as part of cricket’s response to the coronavirus crisis. 

Metro says that the initial article quoted a letter by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison to someone within the Professional Cricket Association in which Harrison claimed that he had received “a less than enthusiastic response” to the idea of a wage cut. 

While Stokes has challenged the veracity of the report there has been no official announcement from the ECB about a wage reduction for the sport’s top stars.

Today’s sport headlines

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