Coronavirus: Football talks continue on possible wage deferral

PUBLISHED: 07:56 02 April 2020 | UPDATED: 07:59 02 April 2020

A view of closed ticket stalls at Wembley Stadium

A view of closed ticket stalls at Wembley Stadium

PA Wire/PA Images

Football chiefs are set to continue seeking ways to salvage the domestic season as the sporting shutdown is extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The players’ union, the Professional Footballers’ Association, is holding talks with the Premier League, the English Football League and the League Managers’ Association regarding a possible collective agreement on wage deferral.

The bodies issued a statement saying that although no decisions had been reached on Wednesday, they shared a “constructive” meeting, and would continue talks “in the next 48 hours”.

UEFA has cancelled all of its competitions until June, including the Euro 2020 play-offs, while the Danish Football Association reported that the Women’s European Championships, scheduled for England next year, will be pushed back to 2022.

The All England Club announced that Wimbledon will not be staged this year for the first time since World War II, citing “public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic”.

Wimbledon officials confirmed there was no realistic prospect of delaying until later this year, and therefore the 134th Championships will be the ones beginning on June 28 2021.

The ATP and WTA announced they were also extending their existing suspension into July, but the US Tennis Association issued a statement saying they were still working towards staging the US Open from August 24.

Silverstone has until the end of April to decide whether or not the British Grand Prix can go ahead in July.

The opening eight races on this season’s calendar have already been postponed, and the Canadian Grand Prix on the weekend of June 12-14 is the next scheduled event.

A joint statement from Silverstone and Formula One read: “Silverstone and Formula 1 remain in close dialogue regarding the ongoing situation and are assessing the feasibility of holding the British Grand Prix on 17th-19th July.”

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe became the first Premier League boss to take a voluntary pay cut along with other members of the club’s coaching staff.

The Cherries, in common with an increasing number of Premier League clubs, had previously announced that a number of non-playing staff have been furloughed.

Championship side QPR announced “a number of staff” had been placed on furlough leave while non-playing employees at the club – including manager Mark Warburton – had taken a voluntary pay cut.

Championship rivals Swansea also announced that chairman Trevor Birch and manager Steve Cooper have voluntarily agreed to “significant wage deferrals”.

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington confirmed the Super League club had furloughed almost all their staff and players, while they have also shut the stadium and training ground.

Toronto Wolfpack announced their home games in April and May - the first Super League games scheduled to be played in Canada – cannot take place while Salford placed the majority of their staff on furlough.

Rugby Australia has opened talks with the players’ union to strike a deal over a three-month wage deferral.

Major League Baseball has announced that the planned London games between the Chicago Cubs and St Louis Cardinals in June have been postponed.

The inaugural PDC World Series of Darts event in Copenhagen has also been moved back four months, the Nordic Darts Masters are now scheduled for October 23-24 having been originally earmarked for June and the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials, set for Bramham Park near Leeds on June 4-7, have been postponed.

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Tom Harrison, meanwhile, has volunteered to take a 25 per cent pay cut while some staff will be asked to consent to a furlough period.

The UCI has also extended its suspension of all cycling competitions until June 1 as doubts continue to grow over this summer’s Tour de France, which is scheduled to begin in Nice on June 27.

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