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Last Updated: Friday, 2 November 2007, 11:56 GMT
PFA boss backs players' salaries
John Terry
Terry's salary was highlighted by Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe
Players' chief Gordon Taylor has defended top football stars' pay after Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said John Terry's salary was "obscene".

Sutcliffe said "people in the street cannot understand" salaries like that of the Chelsea captain.

But Taylor insists that Sutcliffe should back the country's leading sports stars.

"I find it an incredible statement coming from a sports minister," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"We're talking about paying millions to have an Olympics or World Cup here in England, but if we're not careful we're not even going to have the sportsmen and women to do ourselves justice.

"He should be pleased that we've got a lad here who's managed to break through in a world when there's a massive amount of foreign players, and he's proved himself one of the very best in the world."


Taylor added: "Is he going to have a go at Lewis Hamilton's money, Jonny Wilkinson's money?

"Every labourer is worth his hire and Mr Abramovich (Chelsea owner) thinks he's worth it. More than half of that money goes to the Government in tax.

"There's so much money coming into the game, surely it's only fair that they get their share of that?"

Chelsea boss Avram Grant also launched a strong defence of his Chelsea captain Terry and the qualities which earned the centre-back a reported 130,000-a-week.

"I have my opinion about this," said Grant. "John is the captain and you need to learn how he led the team with full commitment in a very difficult time.

"Everybody likes to speak about the money of the footballers. Why does nobody speak about singers who get more money in one year than any player?"

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson added his support of the salaries footballers get compared to other stars in the sporting world.

"You have to put these things into perspective," he said.

There are also some tennis players who get great sponsorship deals but never win a tournament

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson

"There are some tennis players and golfers earning enormous amounts of money. Is that wrong?

"It is very easy to say footballers get paid too much. In some cases, I would not argue with that.

"However, there are also some tennis players who get great sponsorship deals but never win a tournament."

Ferguson also hit back at Sutcliffe's criticism of the Old Trafford club increasing ticket prices by 13% and the controversial 'automatic cup scheme' (ACS).

The ACS policy forces season-ticket holders to buy tickets for cup games whether they want to attend or not.

But Ferguson added: "It is unfair and inaccurate.

"If you want to talk about obscene, he should look at the prices they charge at Chelsea and Arsenal.

"He works in London, I am sure he knows where Chelsea and Arsenal play, so he must know about their ticket prices. They are almost double ours, so I do not understand why he is picking on Manchester United."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was another to reject the criticism from Sutcliffe over players' salaries.

"I think John Terry is a top professional and is ready to go on the football pitch to win," said the Frenchman.

"We are in an economy where the company decides who pays who and how much and we have to respect that."

But Sutcliffe has stood by his assertion that top footballers in England are paid too much despite admitting he got his figures wrong.

Sutcliffe told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I am not attacking players. This is about whether can football sustain the losses that Chelsea have.

I stand corrected - I said Chelsea's losses were 250m and I understand it's 220m over two years, and John's salary is not 150,000 a week, it's closer to 130,000.

"To the ordinary man and woman in the street that would be seen as obscene because they cannot relate to that.

"Link that to ticket prices and people are being priced out of the game. It's not an attack on individuals - John Terry is a great football player and a great England captain."

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