Football clubs and the Minimum Wage

First published in Left Foot Forward: August 27th 2013

Back in April, it emerged that four Premier League football clubs (including Reading Swansea City and Wigan Athletic) would be reported to Revenue and Customs by campaign group Intern Aware over alleged breaches of the National Minimum Wage Act.

They were accused of attempting to recruit performance analyst interns – a skilled position classified by the HMRC as requiring renumeration – on internship style contracts.

The adverts, which appeared on the website UK Sport, required applicants to possess specific technical expertise in performance analysis or Sports Science, and have previous experience in professional or semi-professional football. A forth club, West Bromwich Albion, was accused of advertising for a full-time salary of £8,000 plus expenses and living allowances – the implication being that the salary fell below the legal minimum wage of £12,875.20.

Reading, who have since been relegated to the Championship (but are in receipt of parachute payments) stated that the roles gave young people the “opportunity” to gain practical experience and improve their employability, and satisfied the demand for internships in the performance analysis sector. And a performance analyst at Swansea claimed that he was not paid, in spite of working to tight deadlines on shifts that often exceeded 12 hours.

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