Chelsea players hoping to negotiate wage cuts lower than Premier League’s suggested 30 per cent

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Chelsea are in talks with their players over wage cuts, with the squad hoping to negotiate a reduction lower than the 30 per cent suggested by the Premier League. It is understood the players, who are negotiating through captain Cesar Azpilicueta, would rather take a cut of around 10 per cent to help save Chelsea…

Chelsea are in talks with their players over wage cuts, with the squad hoping to negotiate a reduction lower than the 30 per cent suggested by the Premier League.

It is understood the players, who are negotiating through captain Cesar Azpilicueta, would rather take a cut of around 10 per cent to help save Chelsea money during the coronavirus crisis.

Premier League clubs agreed at the start of April to consult their players on 30 per cent cuts and deferrals, but players across the country have not been happy with that proposal.

Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal are set to agree their players take a 12.5 per cent pay cut, with the proviso of a number of potential future bonuses.

Director Marina Granovskaia is handling the negotiations with the Blues squad, which are said to be taking place amicably and in an understanding manner on both sides even though an agreement is yet to be struck.

Chelsea’s players have already made what was described as a “sizeable” donation to the club’s foundation to go to charities to support the vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Head coach Frank Lampard could also take a pay cut once an agreement is reached with his squad.

In the latest accounts, it was revealed Chelsea’s wage bill had increased by 17 per cent to £285 million a year, which was the sixth highest in European football and the third largest in England behind Manchester United and Manchester City.

With no date set for a return to training or a restart to the season, Chelsea have moved to try to save money just over a month since the Premier League was suspended.

Willian, who is one of four first-players whose contracts are due to expire on June 30, is currently in Brazil after being allowed to travel back to his home country to be with his wife and children.

As well as Willian, Chelsea have Olivier Giroud, Pedro Rodriguez and Willy Caballero coming to the end of their contracts, which potentially puts them in a difficult position.

Fifa have recommended that clubs can give their players short-term extensions to complete the season, but national employment law means they can, in theory, walk away on June 30.

Chelsea have not furloughed any non-playing staff and confirmed they will help their casual employees by paying them in full for the fixtures that have been postponed, including matches against Aston Villa, Bayern Munich and Leicester City.

Those payments will be funded entirely by the club and will go to the support staff who help on matchdays, benefitting stewards, hospitality, ground staff and the raffle sellers outside the ground.

Former players and club legends who work in the premium seating areas, including the likes of Ron Harris, Gary Chivers, Paul Canovile, Kerry Dixon and Bobby Tambling, will also receive payment.

Chelsea have already given up their Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge to NHS staff, who are being provided with rooms and breakfast.

The club are providing 78,000 meals to the NHS and charities that support the elderly and vulnerable groups, and have teamed up with Refuge, the domestic abuse charity, to raise funds for those suffering during the pandemic.

Head coach Frank Lampard said: “I’m very proud to be the manager of this club with the way Chelsea have handled it. They were very quick to respond with the help of the hotel and there’s a lot more work going on with the foundation, with link-ups and with getting in touch with fans. There are a lot of people at Chelsea who have really stood up.”

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