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Scunthorpe chairman hits back after being attacked by Gary Neville

Scunthorpe chairman hits back after being attacked by Gary Neville, who described calls that players’ wages should be suspended as ‘disgusting’.

Peter Swann said in an ITV interview that the only way to safeguard lower league clubs’ survival is to stop paying players while matches are unable to be played.

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The English Football League and Professional Footballers’ Association reached an agreement which will see clubs asked to defer player wages by no more than 25 per cent, and not below £2,500 per month.

But Swann wants more drastic action taken, saying players must not claim money for a job they are not doing.

“We sign players on contracts to play in the Football League and that is the job they do, play football in front of fans for a set number of games,” Swann said.

“They earn money on appearances, promotion, and relegation under those rules and I feel if the league is suspended then the players’ wages should be suspended until the resumption of full training and a resumption date confirmed.”

Neville told Sky Sports: “I think it’s bordering on disgusting, Geoff [Shreeves]. It doesn’t help at all in the way football is perceived by fans, it doesn’t help the way football is perceived by players.

“I pay people in my hotels to look after guests, they are not doing it at the moment. What do I do? Just chuck them out on the street? Say sorry your income is gone now? That is not how we treat people in every other industry.

“The reason we have workers’ rights, employees’ rights is to guard against owners like that. Literally at this moment in time would chuck those lads out of their club, stop paying them, not giving them a penny, leave them with mortgages to pay.

“And there are other business leaders during this crisis who have done that in other industries, who can afford to pay their staff, who have literally just made them redundant and thrown them away on unpaid leave or asked them to take holiday. It’s disgusting!

“You have to do the right thing, these are people, human beings. Forget whether they are football players, whether they’re lawyers, whether they are accountants, whether they work in a hotel. The reality is that none of this was their doing.

“The idea that a Football League owner says ‘we shouldn’t pay them if they’re not playing’…are his executive team getting paid during this time? Are the staff that work in the ticket office going to get chucked out as well? The people who need the money. It’s truly terrible the way in which some football club owners try to act in desperate ways in this crisis.

“It’s why players look at them as rich, wealthy, Rolls-Royce driving owners, who I don’t care about and I won’t take a pay cut for and I don’t blame them. And that’s what the Premier League players have done with their owners.”

Scunthorpe chairman hits back after being attacked by Gary Neville, saying to Sky Sports: “Scunthorpe are paying full wages to all their staff, we’ve furloughed some of the staff and will probably furlough some of the players, but we will pay that 100 per cent.

“And we will probably be one of the few that can probably get through to June. But there’s no point getting through to June if we’re going to be behind closed doors, and there’s no season to start.

“We’re saying we will still honour those contracts but for a later date. So when we’ve honoured those contracts they can pay the PFA back, the money that they’ve borrowed or the money the PFA give them.

“Nobody loses, actually, in this. We’re not asking to take wage cuts of 50 per cent, we’re not asking to lose all your money, and we’re certainly not kicking players out. That was the crux of the letter I sent out.

“I was really disappointed to be attacked personally, and the club to be attacked, when really, when you look at the statement, it was just asking for a bit of help and guidance.

“I appreciate Gary is a TV presenter. To use that platform I think was out of order. And probably now, even if he actually reads the statement, he probably feels, I hope he feels, that maybe he was a bit forward and harsh in what he said.

“Because I know he is a very good orator, he is a very, very good footballer, and he is someone our sport needs as we go forward, but sometimes you may have to just think before you talk.”

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