EFL

Cardiff City 0-0 Swansea City: Cagey derby ends all square

By Sports Desk January 12, 2020

Cardiff City and Swansea City shared the spoils in a cagey goalless draw in Sunday's south Wales derby.

In a match that produced few moments of quality, it was Swansea who went closest to opening the scoring in the first half at the Cardiff City Stadium when Bersant Celina bent a low effort against the left post.

Tempers briefly boiled over between the fierce rivals when Cardiff striker Robert Glatzel took exception to a late challenge from Ben Cabango, with each man booked.

Cardiff also hit the woodwork when Callum Paterson headed Josh Murphy's delivery against the crossbar in the only chance of note in the second half.

A draw means Swansea stay seventh and only outside the play-off places on goal difference, while Cardiff are 12th but just four points adrift of sixth-place Sheffield Wednesday.

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  • Coronavirus: Messi hailed as 'global example' amid footballer pay-cut debate Coronavirus: Messi hailed as 'global example' amid footballer pay-cut debate

    Barcelona star Lionel Messi is "a global example" when it comes to the debate over footballers and pay cuts during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a sports psychologist.

    Messi issued a statement on behalf of the Barca first team on March 30 to confirm that the players had agreed to a 70 per cent reduction in wages to help to ease the financial burden on the club while football is largely at a standstill.

    The players are also making further financial contributions to ensure Barca's non-playing employees can take home their full wages while LaLiga remains suspended during Spain's nationwide lockdown.

    Atletico Madrid announced last week that their players would be taking a similar pay reduction.

    The decisions from two of Spain's top clubs encouraged debate over the practices of the Premier League elite, whose players are yet to announce any definitive agreement on wage reductions or financial contributions towards frontline health systems.

    Tom Bates believes Messi and Barca's example will help to encourage other clubs to follow suit while the COVID-19 crisis persists.

    "The players that I have spoken with from the Premier League all the way through, they have different perspectives, naturally," he told Stats Perform.

    "One of the things that the guys have said is, 'Well, actually at our club we are quite a wealthy club, so we could probably afford to keep our staff paid, but other clubs in different leagues won't be able to do that'. Others feel like taking a pay cut to keep their staff on board is absolutely fine.

    "The classic case is Leo Messi, who started this and was one of the first players to take a 70 per cent pay cut in order to make sure the staff at Barcelona were able to carry on working, and I think that really is a global example to everybody when you're talking about that level in money in wages, and that type of athlete.

    "I am very privileged: I have met Leo Messi and [Pep] Guardiola over there in Barcelona together as a team, and it doesn't surprise me that they are leading the way with this.

    "If there was going to be a global example of a player out there doing something for the greater good of their club – and he embodies that for me – so, in my professional opinion, if you can afford that and if you're able to support by taking a pay cut, then clearly those who need it the most are going to benefit."

    Bates also praised the influence of former Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney in encouraging conversations around mental health.

    Writing for The Times, Derby County star Rooney outlined how the suspension of the football calendar could have implications for the mental wellbeing of players who have seen their routine grind to a halt.

    "Wayne is in many ways an ambassador, he is a cultural leader for the game, especially because what he has achieved at international level, and certainly to be continuing his career even now and still performing at a very high level encourages others to do the same," Bates said.

    "When you have somebody like Wayne come and be very open and very honest about mental health on a global level within the game, that can only be a good thing because it encourages others to have conversations, to open up conversations and be courageous enough to talk about their own mental health, and of course talking about it is the first step to improving it."

  • Coronavirus: West Brom chief executive giving up 100 per cent of salary during lockdown Coronavirus: West Brom chief executive giving up 100 per cent of salary during lockdown

    West Brom chief executive Mark Jenkins will give up 100 per cent of his salary for the duration of English football's suspension during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Although the Championship club remain "financially stable" for the foreseeable future, Jenkins has volunteered to give up his wages and says several other members of the senior management will take "significant" cuts to personal income.

    West Brom will also pay the additional 20 per cent of staff salaries if the club are forced to take advantage of the government's furlough scheme, which guarantees 80 per cent of worker wages up to £2,500 a month if businesses are unable to operate as normal.

    The announcement from the Baggies, who were second in the Championship before 2019-20 was halted, comes two days after the English Football League (EFL) confirmed the season has been postponed indefinitely until it is safe to resume domestic competitions.

    "At the moment, the club is financially stable and remains so for the foreseeable future," Jenkins said in a statement published via the club's website.

    "But everybody is fully aware these are very uncertain times in which we simply cannot forecast what the future holds. Until we regain a level of certainty, we cannot be sure if planned income will actually be received or if we will be forced to utilise cash the club already holds to refund existing commitments.

    "With that in mind, I think it is only correct that for the duration of this lockdown I take a 100 per cent cut in my salary and other members of the senior management team have also offered to take significant reductions in their remuneration.

    "Like many other clubs, we have considered using a furlough approach with non-playing staff who are now unable to work owing to the lockdown and we have made plans for this eventuality.

    "At present we have not been required to sanction this action, but if the lockdown continues and football remains 'on-hold' then this decision may have to be changed. What we will pledge is to ensure none of the staff effected [sic] suffer a reduction in pay; the club will make up the 20 per cent shortfall not covered by the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

    "I should perhaps add at this point that nothing underlines the spirit of our staff, or the commitment they have for Albion, than to tell you that several have volunteered to take pay cuts in order to help the club navigate a way through these difficulties. It says everything about the core values which run through our staff for which I and all the senior management team are both mindful and appreciative."

    Jenkins' pledge comes amid criticism of major football clubs, including Tottenham and Premier League leaders Liverpool, for utilising the option to save costs by furloughing staff despite their healthy financial positions.

    Premier League stars have been urged to take voluntary pay cuts by UK health minister Matt Hancock, with discussions between club captains said to have taken place this weekend with a view to establishing a charitable foundation into which donated wages can be funnelled.

  • Coronavirus: PFA claims 30 per cent player pay cut would harm UK government services Coronavirus: PFA claims 30 per cent player pay cut would harm UK government services

    The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) claims "essential public services" would lose important revenue if players take the 30 per cent pay cut proposed by Premier League clubs.

    Highly-paid stars have come under increasing public pressure to commit to a wage reduction after the coronavirus pandemic brought England's top flight to a halt until at least May.

    Liverpool on Saturday joined Tottenham, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth in placing a number of non-playing staff on furlough. The scheme sees the United Kingdom government cover 80 per cent of an individual's wages up to the value of £2,500.

    Health secretary Matt Hancock called on footballers to "play their part" and Premier League clubs agreed at a meeting on Friday to approach them over a pay cut.

    No agreement was reached with the PFA, which suggested it was not the right approach, mooting that services such as the National Health Service (NHS) could suffer a financial blow.

    However, the players' union stated a "substantial contribution" will be made once talks have been concluded.

    The PFA's statement read: "The players are mindful that as PAYE [pay as you earn] employees, the combined tax on their salaries is a significant contribution to funding essential public services - which are especially critical at this time.

    "Taking a 30 per cent salary deduction will cost the Exchequer substantial sums. This would be detrimental to our NHS and other government-funded services.

    "The proposed 30 per cent salary deduction over a 12-month period equates to over £500m in wage reductions and a loss in tax contributions of over £200m to the government.

    "What effect does this loss of earning to the government mean for the NHS? Was this considered in the Premier League proposal and did the health secretary, Matt Hancock, factor this in when asking players to take a salary cut?

    "We welcomed the opportunity to discuss this with the Premier League today and we are happy to continue talks.

    "It is our priority to finalise the precise details of our commitment as soon as possible. However, to achieve a collective position for all Premier League players - of which there are many different financial and contractual circumstances from club-to-club - will take a bit more time. 

    "The PFA Charity has also agreed to make a substantial contribution to a player-led initiative once the details are finalised.

    "There should be no doubting the players and captains are committed to achieving this as soon as possible. They recognise their role in wider society and what they need to do, as a group, to help and support others."

    The PFA also claimed the Premier League's decision to advance £125million to EFL and National League clubs and donate £20m to the NHS and other charitable causes was insufficient.

    "£20m is welcome, but we believe it could be far bigger," said the statement.

    "The EFL money is an advance. Importantly, it will aid cashflow in the immediate, but football needs to find a way to increase funding to the EFL and non-league clubs in the long-term.

    "Many clubs require an increase in funding just to survive. We believe in our football pyramid and again stress the need for solidarity between all clubs."

    The statement added that players want to ensure their financial contributions support clubs, players and staff at all levels of the football pyramid and the NHS, whose workers it called "the real heroes".

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