MONDAY'S TOP HEADLINES

The Furlough Conundrum - [Spoiler: there is no conundrum]

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Here is statement from the government’s official website on its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

"If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

"Your employer could pay 80% of your wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

"You’ll still be paid by your employer and pay taxes from your income. You cannot undertake work for your employer while on furlough."

The decision of a few clubs - namely Tottenham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Norwich and Bournemouth - to furlough non-playing staff has been met with widespread anger.

Daniel Harris told the Game of Opinions podcast that Tottenham's decision to furlough staff was 'completely unacceptable' and it is hard to disagree.

Both Tottenham and Liverpool - who announced their decision to furlough staff over the weekend - are in rude financial health according to their latest financial statements and that suggests that this is something they have decided to do rather than needed to.

Their behaviour is in contrast to that of the two Manchester clubs, neither of whom have sought to use the furlough scheme - with United confirming they would continue to pay all matchday staff during the crisis while the players have donated 30 percent of their wages to the NHS and City confirmed that they would not be furloughing any staff. Whenever this pandemic is over it is important to remember clubs that stood with their communities, with the two Manchester clubs setting the example for the rest of the league to follow.

Clubs may see themselves as businesses but their lifeblood is their community and clubs who are furloughing staff when it is absolutely not necessary to do so need reminding of that.

Wayne Rooney: A top column...

Wayne Rooney has been a very good addition to the Times' sport offering and he was at it again this weekend putting across the perspectives of the players in the frankly ridiculous 'this very specific selection of high earners should be contributing more while all the other very high earners who probably earn more do not have the same burden of responsibility' debate. (Top tip: we all have to do all we can).

Anyway, here is Rooney on it:

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

"I get that players are well paid and could give up money. But this should be getting done on a case-by-case basis.

"Clubs should be sitting down with each player and explaining what savings it needs to survive. Players would accept that.

"One player might say, 'I can afford a 30%'; another might say, 'I can only afford 5%'.

Personally, I'd have no problem with some of us paying more. I don't think that would cause any dressing room problems.

"Whatever way you look at it, we're easy targets. What gets lost is that half our wages get taken by the taxman. Money that goes to the government, money that is helping the NHS."

Hard to argue with a word of that. Let's remember here players are just employees.

Kyle Walker

There is a move over Jamie Vardy, Kyle Walker is having a party quip in this absolute shambles somewhere if it was not so serious

What. On. Earth. was Kyle Walker thinking when he decided to, well, reportedly have a sex party in the middle of a pandemic where the key piece of health advice is to exercise social distancing.

City have opened an investigation and Walker has already apologised. If only there has been a recent high-profile example of a Premier League footballer ignoring the lockdown advice and getting caught to warn Walker of the perils of being an utter clown.

Oh.

IN THE CHANNELS

Definitely not football but, you knows, times are hard and this is literally the ball of the century.

What. A. Ball.

HAT-TIP

The Belarusian Premier League is in a league on its own in Europe. Michael Hincks reflected on the top-of-the-table clash he blogged between Energetik-BGU and Minsk…

Controversial or not, BGU’s victory over Minsk was 90 minutes of football at its core, and the wider story surrounding the match simply had no impact on the action that took place. This, you would imagine, is exactly what Lukashenko wants people like me to take away from the experience of watching the Belarusian Premier League. It was a display of normality which millions of football followers are missing as the world continues to tackle this devastating pandemic. This familiarity worked its charm on me for two hours, and you get the impression the Belarusian Premier League will not follow the status quo any time soon. Not if it keeps increasing in popularity, anyway.

Read the full blog here..

RETRO CORNER (sort of)

All of this is pretty sensational but particularly the commitment to the celebrations.

COMING UP

Nick Miller will have news of the latest footballer unable to entertain theirself.

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