Tottenham to resume talks over coronavirus pay cut - sources
Tottenham are expected to resume talks with their first-team squad over a possible wage cut later this month once more detailed implications of the coronavirus pandemic are known, sources have told ESPN.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy held initial discussions with the players in early April but failed to reach an agreement. Sources have told ESPN the club suggested a 30% reduction in line with the Premier League's proposal for all clubs but that idea was subsequently rejected.
Tottenham have opted to wait to continue talks until a clearer picture emerges of the challenges football faces in general but the club are likely to push for a cut whenever negotiations resume.
Spurs will miss out on more than £4 million as a result of the NFL opting against staging games in London this year. Tottenham's new £1 billion stadium is also scheduled to be hosting two Guns N' Roses concerts at the end of this month in addition to a Lady Gaga show on July 30.
Anthony Joshua's heavyweight title fight against Kubrat Pulev on June 20 has already been postponed and the music events look unlikely to remain in the calendar with mass gatherings banned and leading government advisers suggesting social distancing could remain in place for the rest of 2020.
Combined with the loss of football matchday revenue as a result of matches being played behind closed doors, Spurs are bracing themselves for a difficult period, forecast by Levy himself on March 31 when he warned that "people need to wake up to the enormity" of the pandemic.
Spurs renegotiated the debt on their stadium last September, converting £525m of the £637m borrowed into a bond scheme.
Sources have told ESPN that an annual fund of around £25m was ringfenced for transfers, providing something of an emergency buffer in these unprecedented circumstances if the club chooses to divert those funds elsewhere.
The situation will be worse for all clubs if the season is voided, as the threat of broadcasters demanding £762m in television money remains real. Several overseas broadcasters have contacted at least one senior London law firm to explore their options in this eventuality.
The Premier League remains committed to completing the 2019-20 season, however, and a degree of clarity is expected this week through a series of important steps: the government is committed to reviewing its social distancing measures by Thursday, a Premier League shareholders' meeting takes place on Monday at which a vote is set to take place about a possible restart prior to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's nationwide address on Sunday, outlining how the country will emerge from its present lockdown.
Spurs are especially wary of another misstep after becoming the first club to furlough non-playing staff on the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, only to reverse that decision in the wake of a strong public backlash.
Instead, Levy and the board of directors took a cut and hoped the players would do the same but the first-team squad could not agree over how to proceed.
Several players have made donations to the NHS through the "Players Together" initiative while head coach Jose Mourinho has volunteered making food deliveries from the training ground garden to the food distribution hub at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Arsenal are the only English club to have agreed a pay cut to date, with the vast majority of their first-team squad accepting a 12.5% reduction for 12 months. Several other clubs including Southampton and West Ham have agreed wage deferrals.
Sources have told ESPN that the Spurs squad wish to remain united and agree a collective course of action. They are not opposed to a cut and recognise some sacrifice has to be made given the global economic effects of coronavirus.