Premier League chief executives will discuss the prospect of asking players to take pay deferrals when the 20 top flight clubs stage their next video conference on April 3, sources have told ESPN.
With all football in England suspended until April 30 at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic, every Premier League outfit has shut down its day-to-day operations, with club staff working from home and players forced to train to alone as a result of training ground being closed.
Many clubs, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Crystal Palace, have confirmed that they will continue to pay all match-day and non match-day staff over the coming weeks.
But with the likelihood of football being suspended beyond the provisional date of April 30, Premier League clubs are now bracing themselves for the prospect of having to temporarily reducing player salaries in order to avoid financial difficulties.
The lack of fixtures has led to clubs missing out on gate money and broadcasting revenue and, while television money is expected to be triggered once again in the event of games being played behind closed doors, such a possibility will leave clubs without cash coming through the turnstiles.
Sources have told ESPN that the vast majority of Premier League clubs are well-insulated against the financial difficulties faced by teams in the lower leagues, but that only the very biggest and wealthiest clubs can sustain outgoings beyond the short-term in the event of a prolonged suspension of fixtures.
Efforts to impose temporary pay deferrals would have to be authorised by the Professional Footballers Association, but sources have told ESPN that, with many people in the country facing financial hardship and pay cuts, any move by the players to reject a temporary deferral would be hugely damaging to the sport and its reputation among the public.
On Tuesday, German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund announced that the club’s players will forego part of their salaries to ease the financial pressure on the club amid the coronavirus crisis.