The Premier League has promised it will speak to its clubs about adopting the living wage, but insists its hands are tied when it comes to enforcement.
After a petition for all Premier League staff to paid the living wage was signed over 62,000 times, the group agreed to meet with its creator Joel Sharples and a delegation from community group Citizens UK.
Yet Sharples, who works for youth-led Football Beyond Borders charity that uses the sport to tackle inequality, described the meeting as “frustrating” due to the Premier League’s perceived refusal to take a position of leadership on the issue.
“They were quite keen to put across they didn’t have the power to implement a rule on all of its clubs,” he told City AM, “But they did say they were quite happy to pass on our information to the club.”
In the Premier League, only Chelsea have made are an accredited living wage employer as accredited by the Living Wage Foundation which advises companies to pay a wage that meets the minimum cost of living.
After a new £5.1bn Premier League TV rights deal was announced earlier this month, Sharples created the petition which called on chief executive Richard Scudamore to “change his mind about clubs’ obligations to their employees.”
“The ridiculousness of the situation is there for everyone to see”, he explains, “Once people realise it takes a cleaner at Old Trafford 19 years to earn as much as Falcao does in a week it becomes unsustainable.
“There’s a very, very wide dissatisfaction generally with the way football is being run.”
The Living Wage Foundation says that its rates, set at £9.15 per hour in London and £7.85 per hour in the rest of the UK, is good for business as it improves the quality of employees’ work.