In Brief

Today’s back pages: Gary Lineker calls for patience over Premier League pay cut debate

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 3 April

Football’s civil war

One story dominates the back pages and that is the ongoing furore about footballers’ wages, or more particularly those of the Premier League’s finest. 

Last night Health Secretary Matt Hancock became the latest politician to join the chorus of criticism at the fact that clubs have started to furlough non-playing staff while continuing to pay their players six-figure salaries. 

Speaking at the daily government briefing, Hancock said: “I think everybody needs to play their part in this national effort and that means Premier League footballers too.

“Given the sacrifices people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS, who have made the ultimate sacrifice and gone into work and caught the disease and have sadly died, I think the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution; take a pay cut and play their part.”

But Gary Lineker has sprung to the defence of the players, reports Metro, with its “give players a chance” headline. 

The former England striker turned pundit is quoted as saying: “My inkling is footballers will take pay cuts, they will help out in communities, they will make donations in whatever way they can, and I think we need to be a little bit patient with them.” 

According to The Sun, Lineker, has done his bit for the crisis by donating £300,000 to the British Red Cross.

The Daily Mirror and the Sun are among the papers to report on the war of words between the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and the Premier League clubs with the former accusing the latter of exploiting the situation for their own financial ends. 

The Mirror claims it’s been told “some Premier League players want to come out publicly and form their own response while offering financial support”.

The Times says that players have been failed by a lack of leadership from the PFA and they must now “stand up for themselves” by announcing their willingness to take pay cuts.

Could the Premier League play out the season in China?

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Eddie’s new deal

The news that England rugby head coach Eddie Jones has extended his contract makes many of the back pages. 

The Sun calls it a “tasty deal”, although it doesn’t go into the financial specifics of the package that was agreed before sport shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Metro says that Jones decided to commit himself to another two years as coach - taking him to the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France - because he has “unfinished business”.

The Times is evidently pleased that Jones is staying at the helm, declaring: “Strap yourself in for more of the Eddie Jones rollercoaster.”

The paper’s rugby correspondent, Owen Slot, remarks: “Jones is actually convinced that he can take the team forward and that, together, they have real potential to achieve great things.”

According to The Daily Telegraph, the terms of the contract, which will make Jones England’s longest serving head coach, were agreed in January and there “has not been a significant uplift in his £750,000 salary”.

Today’s sport headlines

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