Football in the UK has been suspended indefinitely due to coronavirus with Hancock calling the Premier League and its clubs to "take action" by agreeing to a pay cut.

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The Premier League's suggestions of a 30 per cent wage cut or deferral strategy was discussed in a conference call with the Professional Footballers' Association and the League Managers Association on Saturday, but the PFA responded saying it would reduce tax revenue for the National Health Service.

Writing in his column for The Times, the former Manchester United forward says he would happily take a pay cut, but that not all footballers are in the same position and are currently "easy targets".

"The first thing to say is that if Derby County needed me to take a pay cut to save the club I would understand and look to support them in whatever way I could," he wrote.

"And if the government approached me to help support nurses financially or buy ventilators I’d be proud to do so - as long as I knew where the money was going.

"But I’m not every player. I’m 34, I’ve had a long career and I’ve earned well. I’m in a place where I could give something up. Not every footballer is in the same position.

"Yet suddenly the whole profession has been put on the spot with a demand for 30 per cent pay cuts across the board. Why are footballers suddenly the scapegoats?

"How the past few days have played out is a disgrace.

"First, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, in his daily update on coronavirus, said that Premier League players should take a pay cut.

"He was supposed to be giving the nation the latest on the biggest crisis we’ve faced in our lifetimes. Why was the pay of footballers even in his head? Was he desperate to divert attention from his government’s handling of this pandemic?

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"The Premier League then announced it was looking for its players to give up or defer wages by 30 per cent.

"This despite owners and the Premier League board knowing players were already deep in discussion about what their contribution should be.

"It seemed strange to me because every other decision in this process has been kept behind closed doors, but this had to be announced publicly. Why?

"It feels as if it’s to shame the players - to force them into a corner where they have to pick up the bill for lost revenue.

"I get that players are well paid and could give up money. But this should be getting done on a case-by-case basis. Becoming targets like this I feel is wrong. I’m worried for some of the players, especially the young ones.

"The pressure put on them is not acceptable and I need to speak up for them."

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