Southampton took wage deferrals to help local community: Ward-Prowse

Reuters , Tuesday 14 Apr 2020

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Southampton v Leicester City - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - October 25, 2019 General view of a Southampton flag inside the stadium before the match (Reuters)

Southampton's players and senior staff wanted to protect the club and repay their community when they accepted wage deferrals and were not influenced by external pressure, vice-captain James Ward-Prowse has said.

The club were the first in the Premier League to announce that players and coaching staff would defer part of their salaries for April, May and June to help weather the shutdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Premier League has been suspended indefinitely due to the outbreak, with the UK on lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"It was never about doing it quickly or facing any pressure," midfielder Ward-Prowse told the BBC "It was about making sure we made the right decision for the people and the community and we definitely have done that.

"We wanted to make a good, mature, calculated decision on what was needed. It wasn't done for a 'well done, you're the first club to do it'. It was done out of thinking ahead and thinking what is best for the club and the community."

With the Premier League at a standstill, footballers are facing pressure to accept wage cuts.

The players union, however, questioned the league's call for a 30% player wage reduction, saying it would reduce tax revenue for the National Health Service.

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have both reversed decisions to furlough non-playing staff members after fierce criticism of the moves, while West Ham United followed Southampton by announcing wage deferrals for players.

Southampton were 14th in the table when the league was suspended.

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