Roy Keane has blasted top clubs for forcing their players to take pay cuts during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, blasting their plans as “nonsense”.
Arsenal agreed a 12.5 per cent cut with their players earlier this week, although Mesut Ozil was one of three members of the squad to refuse the plan. Chelsea are also closing in on a 10 per cent agreement with their players.
The Premier League called for players to take a 30 per cent cut during the ongoing lack of action, but the PFA warned that such a move would see a drastic reduction in the amount of taxes the players paid, which could therefore harm the NHS.
Instead, the players opted to set up the #PlayersTogether initiative aimed at raising donations for the NHS, and Keane says that clubs should leave players to make their own decisions.
“I’m not sure how I’d have dealt with it, but I’ve got a lot of sympathy for the players out there because, once again, they’re getting criticised,” the former Manchester United captain told Sky Sports.
“There are players at the big clubs, with a lot of wealthy owners, who are under pressure to take pay cuts etc… but I wouldn’t take a pay cut from anybody if I was at one of the bigger clubs.
“I know there’s pressure on players, but its nobody’s business what you do with your wages.
“You take your wages, and if you want to be generous you go ahead and do it.
“I don’t think players should feel under pressure from clubs, particularly the bigger clubs, to take pay cuts.
“They’ve signed a contract. I know everyone’s different, but your contract with a club is a personal matter, and this idea that all the players have to take a pay cut… I think it’s nonsense.
“I think it’s up to the individual, and if they want to stick to their guns and say ‘listen, I’m sticking with my full wages when we’ve got a billionaire in the background’, then do it.”
“I’m talking about the top clubs here with the really wealthy owners.
“Obviously I’ve a lot of sympathy for clubs in the lower leagues, you’ve got to make sacrifices of course, but the players near the top… and the clubs with their money… then stick to your guns.”