Football clubs must pay staff the living wage
Feb 11, 2020
While Premier League footballers are paid eye-watering salaries, many of those working in catering, cleaning and stewarding do not earn enough to stay afloat, writes Catherine West MP, the shadow minister for sport.
Football is the lifeblood of so many of our communities. Every weekend hundreds of thousands of families and friends go about their pre-match rituals, watch their teams play, and enjoy their post-match pints. Almost three-quarters of the UK population watched a Premier League game last season, with conversations about the latest star signing and their vast pay packet commonplace. A wage of over £100,000 a week for a player in a team challenging for Europe is now common, and when people talk about wages and football, it is all too often these sky-high footballers’ salaries that come to mind.
But what is not often talked about is how much the catering, cleaning and stewarding staff at Premier League clubs earn. Matches couldn’t take place without the hard work of these men and women, yet all too often they’re on poverty pay – taking almost 10 years to earn what a star player takes home in just a single week. Only five of the 20 Premier League clubs pay all their staff enough to live on and are accredited as living wage employers.
That’s so disappointing, because it is a policy that changes lives, allowing people to work one job instead of two, pay their bills and spend more time with their families.
If Liverpool, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton and West Ham can step up and become living wage employers, what is stopping the rest? Premier League clubs, earning handsome sums from TV deals with Sky and BT, are well placed to lead the way and set an example for others to follow.