KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy has issued a stark warning about the financial crisis confronting football because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Levy spoke up in an announcement that everyone employed by the club in a non-playing capacity must accept a 20pc pay cut.
The decision by governments around the world to effectively close down economies with unheard of peacetime impacts on civil liberties in order to minimise the terrible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the right one to protect human lives.
The crushing devastation on industries in many countries, the inter-dependence of international trade and travel in every aspect of our daily life is only now beginning to be felt. Every person on this planet will be affected and in my lifetime I cannot think of something so impactful.
When I read or hear stories about player transfers this summer like nothing has happened, people need to wake up to the enormity of what is happening around us.
With over 786,000 infected, nearly 38,000 deaths and large segments of the world in lockdown we need to realise that football cannot operate in a bubble.
We may be the eighth largest club in the world by revenue according to the Deloitte survey but all that historical data is totally irrelevant as this virus has no boundaries.
The club’s operations have effectively ceased, some of our fans will have lost their jobs and most will be worried about their future.
Our sponsors will be concerned about their businesses and our media partners have no certainty when we may play games again or whether we will be allowed to play in front of our fans.
In the meantime, the Club has an annual cost base running into hundreds of millions of pounds.
We have seen some of the biggest clubs in the world such as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus take steps to reduce their costs.
Yesterday, having already taken steps to reduce costs, we ourselves made the difficult decision – in order to protect jobs – to reduce the remuneration of all 550 non-playing directors and employees for April and May by 20pc utilising, where appropriate, the Government’s furlough scheme. We shall continue to review this position.
We hope the current discussions between the Premier League, PFA and LMA will result in players and coaches doing their bit for the football eco system.
I have no doubt we will get through this crisis but life will take some time to get back to normal.
I hope we will never take for granted so many basic things such as getting off the train at Seven Sisters, walking along Tottenham High Road, entering our stadium with our family and friends, and buying a beer and pie ahead of watching Spurs play at home.
Levy is highest-paid club executive in the Premier League with a £4m salary last season plus a £3m bonus for the new stadium completion, even though it was late.
Newcastle United have put non-playing staff on leave because of pandemic though they will be paid their full salaries until at least the end of April.