Wealthy footballers should donate part of their wages to struggling hospices, Health Secretary suggests


Matt Hancock said that people should stop rowing and “come together” in this time of crisis.

Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire is leading the charge to get Premier League stars to defer 30 per cent of their wages to help the NHS

He told ITV News this lunchtime that the public would support such a move. And he backed footie stars giving their cash to charities too.

Mr Hancock said: “I’ve seen that some, for instance footballers, are now making significant donations to charities and I really welcome that, that’s exactly what we need to see.

“But instead of having a row about this I think that people should come together and make a contribution.

“The hospices of this country have traditionally been largely funded by charity and charity shops. Those shops have had to close so I’m putting more money – taxpayer’s money – into hospices to support them but why don’t our footballers?

“I think that is the sort of thing that would go down really well and help bring the country together.”

Mr Hancock has previously warned football clubs that everyone needs to do their bit in the battle against the virus, which has claimed thousands of lives across the coutry so far.

Hospices have warned that they are rapidly losing cash thanks to the coronavirus outbreak hitting their funding.

Charity shops have had to close and donations are drying up as Brits who have lost their jobs tighten their purse strings.

Some hospices have even warned they are running out of basic medical and cleaning supplies.

Ministers have said charities can claim for Government loans, but beyond that hasn’t set out any help specifically for them.

Manchester United stars have already donated a huge chunk to their local NHS – paid for by a 30 per cent cut to their wages.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is also organising a crisis fund that is set to raise millions for the the NHS – enlisting the help of the Premier League’s other skippers.

Players and owners are trapped in a stand-off for how to deal with their finances at the moment.

Footie stars say they want to help the NHS, but owners are said to want them to take the cut to help prop up their own clubs, who face losing millions as the League has been put on hold.

Player wages account for about 60 per cent of total Prem income.

One star is understood to have told a crunch meeting last week: “All the clubs are owned by rich people — why do we have to do anything for them?”

Clubs including Tottenham have said they will put their players on furlough leave – despite being millions of pounds in profit.

Famous faces all around the world are already  contributing to the fight against coronavirus with some football stars already pledging millions of pounds.

Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola, who have both made donations of over £900,000 to hospitals in Spain and Argentina while Cristiano Ronaldo has made provisions for medical equipment and intensive care units.

Brazilian ace Neymar has been revealed as the man behind a £770,000 donation to Unicef and a local charity, while a mystery Liverpool player has given £25,000 to a children’s hospital on Merseyside.

And both Brighton boss Graham Potter and Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe taking voluntary pay cuts.