Gary Lineker has criticised his former team Tottenham after the Premier League club’s announcement that they will furlough 550 members of their non-playing staff.
Lineker, who announced he will donate two months’ wages to the British Red Cross, also said he expected top-flight players to step up and do their bit to contribute to the coronavirus crisis.
Tottenham are among four Premier League clubs to announce a furlough of non-playing staff – which involves a reduction in their salaries to 80% – whilst their players’ lucrative deals remain intact.
Lineker told BBC Radio 4’s ‘World at One’: “The way Tottenham have handled it I don’t think has been very good – what they are doing to their staff I don’t agree with whatsoever.
“But that is a separate issue to what the players do. It’s the club that has said that the players are going to carry on with their wages, but let’s see how the players react to it.”
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust has called on Levy to make a bigger financial contribution to help the club cover non-playing staff’s wages.
It said in a statement: “We are aware that no football club can impose contract changes on its playing or coaching staff without agreement with the respective unions, the PFA and LMA (League Managers’ Association).
“So the comment that THFC has chosen to cut non-playing staff wages while choosing not to cut playing staff wages is inaccurate.
“But there is nothing to stop the club’s players making a voluntary contribution to ensure that the most vulnerable do not bear too great a burden.
“And there is nothing to stop the club’s directors, including the chairman, making a further personal contribution on top of their 20 per cent wage cuts. Points we have made directly to the club board and will continue to do so.
“We have made it clear that this is a course of action fans would overwhelmingly support.”
Players across Spain and Italy have agreed voluntary pay-cuts with the entire Barcelona squad, led by Lionel Messi, agreeing to 70% reductions while the coronavirus crisis continues.
And Lineker urged patience in respect of the response of Premier League stars, insisting: “I think a lot of footballers will do something, and I think there will be a lot of announcements at clubs.
“My inkling is that footballers will take pay cuts, they will help out in communities, they will make donations in whatever way they can, and I think we need to be a little bit patient with them.”
Reflecting on his own decision to make a charity donation, Lineker added: “I’ve decided that I’m going to donate two months’ net salary to the British Red Cross, who are on the frontline trying to help in all sorts of different ways.
“Hopefully other people who are in a position of relative wealth can do something similar.”