Thursday, February 12, 2015

No sporting chance for the poor

The Premier League rejected calls for clubs to pay above the so-called “living wage” to their staff despite the average £50m windfall that each will receive from the £5.1bn sale of television rights. Richard Scudamore, the chief executive of the Premier League, said he was “not uncomfortable” with clubs paying their top stars wages of up to £300,000 a week when staff at the bottom of the same organisations were earning the current legal minimum of £6.50 an hour. Last summer, an unnamed Premier League club was fined for paying 3,000 staff less than the minimum and was ordered to pay the arrears.

Chelsea is the only one of the Premier League’s 20 clubs to be formally accredited as paying the living wage, meaning it is paid to both direct employees and sub-contracted staff. Manchester City pays the living wage to all direct employees. Only two other professional clubs in Britain –Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premier League and League Two Luton Town – pay the enhanced basic wage.

Scudamore, told BBC Radio 4: “We’re in the entertainment industry. The stars in the Premier League are world stars. I don’t set that market rate and the fans want the best talent.”

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