Wednesday 1 April
The Government have finally woken up to the need for testing medical and care home staff. The World Health Organisation have been instructing health authorities since February that testing, isolating and tracking contacts was the only way to mitigate the impact of the virus. Our cloth-brained lot have only just started to realise. There is a dark suspicion that the Tories are hoping for a hefty death toll in the over-60s to cut the social care bill. They have been driving the mentally ill to suicide for years now, 860 deaths between 2010 and 2016, winnowing out the elderly to save money sounds just like the filth that is in Downing Street.
Uefa confirmed that the Champions League remains suspended and that all the international games scheduled for June are off too. Rescheduling will take place at a later date.
The women’s European championship due in 2021 will take place in 2022 to avoid a clash with the men’s competition and the Olympics both already bunted twelve months.
Thursday 2 April
Chelsea have teamed up with Refuge to highlight the problem of domestic abuse. Especially in lockdown incidents of violence and sexual abuse are increasing and the club are providing funds and publicity to help.
Matt Hancock, Minister for Undermining the NHS, blurted out something about footballers being responsible for all the world’s ills by not taking a pay cut. Clubs, most notably those based on the Tottenham High Road, have been criticised for seeking to claim public funds to furlough their staff before looking to cut their players wages.
Alex Telles has shifted his representation to Pini Zahavi and the widest interpretation of that is that Zahavi is an old friend of Roman’s and therefore Telles will sign for Chelsea, if and when the world gets back to normal. Touchingly Alex had been represented by his sister before the switch to Zahavi
Friday 3 April
Uefa, always out of step with the rest of the world, have issued threats to the European leagues saying that Champions and Europa League places might be withheld if seasons are abandoned.
The weirdly draconian pronouncement comes as The Premier and Football Leagues suspend the season indefinitely. The April 30th deadline they had set is impractical in the face of the deadly global pandemic.
Wages were also discussed and the recommendation that players reduce or defer 30% of their wages. The PFA will talk to its members before recommending they accept.
£125m will be advanced to the EFL and National League to help with their finances and tide them over. It is not new money but the solidarity payments due to the pyramid anyway. The Premier League will donate a measly sounding £20m to the NHS.
Saturday 4 April
The Professional Footballer’s Association pointed out that players taking a wage cut will cost the exchequer around £200m in lost tax. The money clubs save by not paying footballers is not guaranteed to go to other staff as scoucers joined the scroungers as Liverpool furloughed most of their non-playing staff.
The government have been upping the pressure as Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, followed the unhelpful comments of Matt Hancock by tweeting: “Concerned about the turn football talks have taken… people do not want to see infighting in our national sport at a time of crisis. Football must play its part to show that the sport understands the pressures its lower paid staff, communities and fans face.”
Clearly the government are worrying that their mishandling of this crisis is too obvious and they are seeking to shift the blame towards footballers. The government gobshite, Dowden, hasn’t revealed if he has taken a pay cut himself and is labouring under the delusion that all footballers are super stars on astronomic salaries. Much of the current Chelsea squad are youngsters on their first pro contract much of the Burnley backline probably don’t pull down millions every year.
The PFA have been keen to point out that footballers want to contribute but that they shouldn’t be put on the spot by the FA and the government.
The FA who have themselves only donated £20m and the government who were happy to accept the deaths of thousands of us in order to develop a herd immunity… as if this was nothing worse than measles.
Elsewhere and Mick McCarthy has been dumped as Republic manager. He has been replaced by Stephan Kelly. McCarthy’s contract was due to run out after Euro 2020 which has now been shunted back year.
Match of the Day cropped up with the wheeze of showing games as a tribute to Alan Shearer. As if anyone was interested in gazing into his navel.
Sunday 5 April
For once we are in agreement with Wayne Rooney. The lumbering Derby midfielder, and former lumbering England striker, made some very accurate and incisive comments about the pressure being put on footballers to take wage cuts.
Rooney said the FA placed players in a no-win situation by demanding a 30% across the board wage cuts: “Why are footballers suddenly the scapegoats? For the Premier League to just announce the proposal, as it has done, increases the pressure on players and in my opinion it is now a no-win situation: if players come out and say they can’t agree or are not willing to cut by 30%, even if the real reasons are that it will financially ruin some, it will be presented as ‘Rich Players Refuse Pay Cut’.”
“It seemed strange to me because every other decision in this process has been kept behind closed doors, but this had to be announced publicly. Why? It feels as if it’s to shame the players – to force them into a corner where they have to pick up the bill for lost revenue.”
“At the moment it’s almost a free-for-all: it’s like the government, Premier League and sections of the media have set the players up to fall.”
Gary Lineker added that all the wealthy should be asked to contribute more: “Nobody seems to talk about the bankers, the CEOs, huge millionaires. Are they standing up? Are they being asked to stand up? We don’t know.
“The problem is how you do it. It’s obviously complicated and it takes time. People are always quick to jump on the judgemental high horse, certainly when it comes to footballers but lots of them … do an extraordinary amount of good in the community, lots of them will already be giving in their own silent ways and I know that plans are afoot to make their contributions to society.
Kyle Walker, however, isn’t helping. It appears he had a party last week. He issued a statement saying sorry. Hmm.