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Gary Lineker Defends Premier League Footballers From Salary Critics

Former Tottenham and England striker, Gary Lineker

Former Tottenham and England striker Gary Lineker has called for patience amid claims that Premier League footballers are refusing to accept salary cuts during the Covid-19 outbreak.

With professional football around the world at a halt as a result of the pandemic, clubs up and down the league pyramid are struggling to make ends meet due to the resulting loss of income.

As a consequence, the astronomic wages of the sport’s biggest stars have come under the spotlight.

On Thursday Atletico Madrid announced that the entire squad would take a 70 per cent pay cut in order to sustain the salaries of the club’s non-playing staff, while Barcelona have taken similar measures.

Premier League clubs in comparison have been slow to introduce similar measures, with Tottenham choosing to slash the wages of more than 400 staff members while not touching players’ incomes.

However Lineker, who has pledged two months of his BBC salary to the Red Cross, argued that detractors should not be too quick to criticise.

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“It’s now up to the players how they respond, let’s give them a chance to respond, before this hugely judgmental pile-on that we always get nowadays,” he told Sky News on Thursday.

“Football is always an easy target but where are the big businessmen, where are the CEOs of these enormous companies, what are they doing at the moment?

“Nobody ever seems to care about them but footballers, who do an unbelievable amount of good in the community that never gets reported, who do lots of things to raise awareness during this dreadfully difficult time. So let’s wait and see, and see what they do. I’ll be the first to criticise them if they do nothing.”

Earlier, Lineker hit out at David Lammy, who had strong words for the Spurs management and squad.

“It’s criminal that Premier League footballers haven’t moved more quickly to take pay cuts and deferrals,” the politician wrote on Twitter. “And completely wrong that taxpayers are now being asked to subsidise cleaners, caterers and security guards at these clubs instead.”

The ex-England star retorted: “It’s not criminal. Fact is players are not training together so meetings would take time to organise.

“I’m positive most of them would want to do something to help but don’t know how, or worry about treading a lonely path.

“Let’s give them a chance to act before we all wade in.”

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