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Rooney says footballers have been made 'scapegoats' with 30% cut demands

Now with Derby in the Championship, the 34-year-old has criticised UK health secretary Matt Hancock.

Rooney is with Derby in the Championship.
Rooney is with Derby in the Championship.
Image: Martin Rickett

WAYNE ROONEY HAS criticised the UK government and the Premier League for making footballers “scapegoats” amidst demands for 30% pay cuts across the board.

The former England captain, now with Derby in the Championship, has written a strong column in today’s Sunday Times, stating his belief that “how the past few days have played out is a disgrace.”

Earlier this week, UK health secretary Matt Hancock called on Premier League footballers to “make a contribution, take a pay cut and play their part.”

On Friday, Premier League clubs announced that they had unanimously agreed to consult with their players concerning a 30% wage deferral to assist with the payment of non-playing staff during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Rooney has taken issue with Hancock’s words, using his column to question whether the health secretary was “desperate to divert attention from his government’s handling of this pandemic?”

Rooney writes that he would understand if Derby needed him to take a pay cut and adds that “if the government approached me to help support nurses financially or buy ventilators I’d be proud to do so — as long as I knew where the money was going.”

But the 34-year-old believes that a sweeping 30% across the board makes no sense given that different players earn vastly different salaries.

The Premier League announcement “increases the pressure on players and in my opinion it is now a no-win situation,” argues Rooney, before highlighting that professional players are already contributing to the NHS through their taxes:

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“Whatever way you look at it, we’re easy targets. What gets lost is that half our wages get taken by the taxman. Money that goes to the government, money that is helping the NHS.”

You can read Wayne Rooney’s column in the Sunday Times in full here

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