Mon | May 25, 2020

RSPL players react to possible pay cut

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2020 | 12:26 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Rodico Wellington (second right) of Tivoli Gardens gets past Lamar Walker (left) of Portmore United during their Red Stripe Premier League fixture played at Spanish Town Prison Oval on Sunday, March 1. Tivoli won 1-0.
Rodico Wellington (second right) of Tivoli Gardens gets past Lamar Walker (left) of Portmore United during their Red Stripe Premier League fixture played at Spanish Town Prison Oval on Sunday, March 1. Tivoli won 1-0.

There are opposing viewpoints among Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) players concerning a potential pay cut, as clubs meet to discuss the way forward in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought the sporting world to a virtual halt.

The RSPL was suspended indefinitely on March 12, as Jamaica registered its first cases of the virus, leaving players idle and cash-strapped clubs missing out on match day revenues and sponsorship opportunities.

While some of the league’s top players expressed a willingness to take a pay cut if their clubs make that request, at least one veteran has come out against any such adjustments.

On average, RSPL players earn between $30,000 and $250,000 on a monthly basis.

Arnett Gardens’ striker Fabian Reid believes players, now more than ever, need to receive full support from their clubs.

“I wouldn’t accept that (pay cut), as you see the crisis now, we are going to need help, we are going to need money to do things and buy food because we all have families. So it hard for you to cut a man salary now because if you give someone a half salary, what is his family going to live on because, he will still have bills to pay, no matter what, so I couldn’t agree on that,” said Reid.

“We don’t know when this is going to end and you still have bills to pay. So no matter the crisis, we have our families to take care of too, so you have to look into that,” Reid added.

OPEN TO NEGOTIATIONS

Meanwhile, Keithy Simpson, captain of Waterhouse, Kemar Beckford of Mount Pleasant and Romaine Breakenridge of Portmore United all believe the virus will have serious implications on the world and domestic economies and stated that they would be open to renegotiating salaries until the crisis passes.

“That (pay cut) is something that will be really hard for players because everybody has budgeted out their contract. So it is going to be a knock on players, but the situation has knocked the economy and the (local) economy does not support football much, so we have to face reality,” Simpson told The Gleaner.

“This dreaded virus has taken a big part of our economy. Things are down, so next month it is going to be next to impossible (paying salaries), so we have to understand as much as we have responsibilities,” he added.

Beckford, the league’s leading scorer with 14 goals, also said a pay cut wouldn’t be a problem, but said both parties would have to work out an amicable settlement.

“When you sign a contract and it is still legitimate, what you sign for, they have to give you. But the virus stopped a lot of things, so based on that, we have less sponsors so everything is going to be cut,” Beckford said. “Players have families, some live with their wives and when one hand is clapping and everything falls on one person, that can be frustrating. We all have to cope, so we have to work with the management until June or May.

MARCH SALARIES

All three clubs paid full salaries to their players this month, with Waterhouse even delaying the deduction of fines from salaries for the month, while adding incentives for home training.

Meanwhile, Portmore United defender Breakenridge stated that he too is open to a salary adjustment in the current crisis.

“We as players usually have to go and work, now is not the time because of the coronavirus. Whatever we get I will be appreciative of it. We are not working so whatever they can put together for us to have something so we can provide for our families, I am thankful for it,” Breakenridge said.

Meanwhile, general manager of Mount Pleasant, David Galloway, and president of Waterhouse, Donovan White, said their clubs have not given thought to the idea of a pay cut as yet. They, however, said they were awaiting the outcome of yesterday’s Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) meeting before making any decision.