Date: 2nd April 2020 at 9:03am
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Norwich City have announced a charitable donation from the salaries of the playing squad, Head Coach and Executive Committee. The club’s owners and directors have also contributed.

You can read the club’s full statement here.

The amount is considerable, in the shape of over £200k, and will initially go towards helping local people who have struggled financially due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The club’s statement says that the money will be “used to buy and distribute food and essential toiletry packages for those in need in the Norwich and the wider Norfolk community.“

A team of volunteers will assemble the packages and the CSF mini buses will be used to deliver them to local community groups.

Club captain Grant Hanley told “There are clearly a lot of complexities and discussions happening at this time, but right now this absolutely is the best thing we can do for our community.

“As a group of players, we wanted to stand up and do our bit. The lads have heard at first-hand stories and challenges that some of our supporters are currently facing. We need to make sure we’re reaching out and helping those who have been hit hard and are struggling at this time.

“It’s clear the club are doing everything possible to help both staff, fans and the wider community at this challenging time, and we want to make sure we’re also contributing.” 

This is a welcome gesture from some of Norfolk’s most highly paid people and it comes at a time when football, particularly Premier League football clubs, have been criticised in some quarters for furloughing non-playing staff, while still paying the full salaries of their football players.

Newcastle United, Spurs and Norwich have all furloughed non-playing staff, with City making up the rest of their staff’s salaries to the full amount.

The whole question of furlough, for a Premier League football club is an interesting one.

The term basically means in this instance, that the government will pay 80% of an employee’s wages, up to £2,500 per month, to stop people losing their jobs. I imagine that the scheme was initially meant for companies that simply couldn’t afford to run as normal in these extraordinary times.

Where does that 80% come from? From you and me, naturally, in the shape of taxes. Having said that, it will initially, no doubt, come from government borrowing. Borrowing that is on an unprecedented scale in an attempt to save the country economically to ensure that life can go on as we know it when this is all over.

However, it will be taxpayers that are left to foot the bill in the coming decades and while football players pay their taxes like anybody else, the money they are paid is so astronomical compared to the majority who pack stadiums to watch their heroes, that the impact on them will be far less.

The Premier League has so much money coming in that it really surprises me that any top flight club is having to furlough anybody. Are they really in a dark financial hole or are they simply taking advantage to protect their interests? Further down the EFL tables, it is obviously the former but when even the last placed club brings in over £100m per season, I’m not so sure.

It’s an awkward subject to talk about but at least some of the highest paid staff at our club are contributing. Whether it’s a one-off gesture or something they will continue to do, there’s no word yet. I’m hoping it’s the latter.

It’s interesting to also note that we, the supporters, are still paying for our season tickets each month when we aren’t watching any football and while the club announced a ticketing update yesterday, they are still taking our direct debits at this time. I’ve not had any communication from the club asking if I can still afford to pay. I suppose a supporter could simply just cancel their direct debit, depending on circumstances.

At this time, the club will be losing out on match day hospitality in the restaurants and kiosks as well as merchandise sales in the club shop, so how heavily are they really losing out at the moment?

The question of whether future TV income is affected if the season is not able to continue seems to be a big worry for the Premier League and it’s members but in the meantime, players at lots of clubs are earning over £100k per week.

Should businesses with such a large income even be able to claim furlough? I note that several other big names in the business world have also claimed it, with Virgin Atlantic among those  having asked for financial help. Billionaire Richard Branson has taken a lot of flak for Virgin Atlantic asking for a government bail out to keep the airline going but the Virgin Group does only own 20% of the company now, with KLM and Delta Airlines owning the majority of the transatlantic carrier. Branson is still a very wealthy man though but airline income has fallen off a cliff.

Let me know your thoughts.


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