Fans demand stars take wage cuts

Football fans believe players should lead by example and take a wage cut given the current economic climate, according to a new poll by Virgin Money. The firm’s authoritative Football Fans’ Inflation Index, which has tracked the cost of being a fan since January 2006, reveals that two in every five regular matchday fans support a wage cut for their club’s players. The Virgin Money Football Fans’ Inflation Index shows that the effects of the recession are hitting hard as the match-day cost for an individual has risen to £89.53 – a five percent year-on-year increase on last year. And regular match-going fans believe footballers should not be immune to the economic downturn.

While 41 percent of the 4,000 fans polled were not in favour of players taking a wage cut now, they would support a league-wide wage cap for all footballers. The biggest advocates of wage caps are 30-34 year olds and season ticket holders.

The most recent results, revealed by Guardian Sport, shows that the cost of attending games has risen by 14 percent since the beginning of 2006.

And Grant Bather of Virgin Money added: “Players have done extremely well out of the boom in football and that is only right and proper as obviously there’s no game without the players and they only have a short career.

“However the cost of being a football fan is rising. As supporters struggle to make ends meet the earnings of the players they watch every week become harder to bear. Fans genuinely feel they pay the wages of their clubs footballers so it’s no surprise to us that they are calling for wage cuts.

“Football used to be an everyman’s game but unless Premiership clubs wake up to the realities of the new economic climate, they should be prepared for a significant drop in interest as fans vote with their feet.”

Malcolm Clarke, Chairman of the Football Supporters Federation, added: “Like any other industry, football has to learn to live within it’s means and look after it’s customers, many of whom are suffering as a result of the recession.

“If this means more ticket price reductions and a bit less for the top players, so be it.”

We welcome the moves by the Football Conference and the Football League in League 2, to place an overall cap on the amount a club can spend on wages as a percentage of its turnover.

“This is the way forward and we would like to see this introduced in the higher leagues, to ensure financial responsibility."