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Gary Neville hits out at Premier League clubs for not sharing wealth

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

13:52 7 Apr 2020

Manchester United defender Gary Neville has criticised Premier League clubs for not sharing their wealth amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Neville was responding to Liverpool's u-turn on their initial announcement on Saturday that they would be placing non-playing staff on furlough.

He began by criticising all of the club's in English top-flight for showing no concern for the clubs below their division and for setting a bad example to the rest of the UK.

"There is no doubt that Liverpool were always going to reverse that decision," said Neville on The Debate on Sky Sports.

"I agree with Jamie, they do get a lot of things right. They do get some things wrong because every football club does and every business does."

"What I would say though is that it is symptomatic of football's approach in the last three weeks that they are not in any way shape or form capturing the public mood around football and what they need to do.

"They need to [look after] health and safety, protect their own business, but they need to ensure they set the tone for the whole country in doing good.

"Looking after each other, be kind, all the messages that we're hearing. The queen last night. Football is not performing to the mantra of the country.

"Football needs to give. Football needs to suffer financially because it can suffer financially and the reality of it is, there are clubs in the lower leagues and in the non-league that are going to go under here if they don't get propped up by the Premier League.

"The Premier League is probably in a position to be able to [get a]  loan a billion pounds from somewhere or an advance from, you know, down the line they have to pay it back somewhere.

"The clubs in the lower leagues need money, the good causes need money. They [Premier League clubs] need to do the right thing."

Liverpool decided originally to take advantage of the UK government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which would pay 80% of their non-playing staff's wages.

Last night they announced that they were reversing that decision but Neville was still critical of how they came to that decsion in the first place.

"And what Liverpool did on Saturday is symptomatic of what the last three weeks have been," added Neville.

"Lack of leadership, lack of decison making, lack of clarity, lack of communication and football is getting this really wrong at the highest level.

"It's a structural flaw in the game. There is no single body with an aligned interest."

His co-analyst and former Reds defender Jamie Carragher welcomed the decison but feels it will still be a hard one for the club's supporters to digest.

"I'm actually delighted now that they've changed their minds," said Carragher.

"It still that'll still leave a bitter taste with a lot of Liverpool supporters because what this did was, it saved the club a few million pounds which was nothing.

"It cost the tax payer a few million pounds, which in the grand scheme of things when you think of the money and different things, it's not the biggest amount ever.

"But it embarrassed Liverpool supporters all around the country.

"Manchester United, Man City, Everton supporters, that's all your getting, all the time now, almost laughing at Liverpool and they've embarrased themselves and embarrassed their own supporters.

"So I'm delighted that they changed their mind. They had to change their mind."

Neville also spoke about the imbalance in finances across the game and is hopeful that something can be done to address that when the game gets back on its feet once again.

"If you've got the bottom club in the Premier League gaining a hundred million pounds of broadcast money and the top club in the EFL, Leeds United...so Norwich City get a hundred million and the top club in the EFL get three million?

"You must see the disconnect and the disproportionate financial reward that's basically put through football. It needs resetting and it has needed resetting for ten or fifteen years.

"And maybe out of this crisis, there can be a government intervention to create a better game whereby if a crisis like this comes along again, football looks after everybody rather than just looking after the twenty clubs which are voting for their own positions."

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Gary Neville Jamie Carragher Liverpool Premier League

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