While we all want to see Cardiff City shoot straight back into the Premier League, we hope the Club will take the opportunity to ‘go down in a blaze of glory’ by becoming the first ‘Living Wage’ football club in the UK.
The Living Wage is a voluntary measure paid by employers who can afford it to ensure their staff earn enough to live, not just enough to survive. It is set independently to reflect the cost of living, and is currently £7.65 an hour.
Cardiff City spent at least £18 million on wages for their players this season, while the cleaners, security and hospitality workers who are vital to the Club’s success are often paid rock-bottom wages, in some cases as low as the National Minimum Wage, just £6.31 an hour.
Over 700 companies in the UK are now accredited Living Wage employers, but there is currently not a single football club.
Cardiff Citizens, an alliance of community groups, has joined the Cardiff City Supporters' Trust and written to the Club’s Chairman, Mehmet Dalman, to ask him to introduce the Living Wage and he has agreed to look into it. This is promising news.
The campaigners were accompanied by a giant 'Bluebird for a Living Wage' created by local youth football teams who then marched it through Grangetown before the last game of the season against Chelsea.
In addition to the letter, hundreds of fans signed a petition calling for the Living Wage before attending the Chelsea game and I have put my weight behind the campaign alongside a growing number of politicians, including Cardiff South & Penarth MP Stephen Doughty, Councillors Ali Ahmed, Gretta Marshall and Lynda Thorne.
For all of us in the Cardiff City family, being the first professional football club in the UK to be a Living Wage employer would be up there with the very best of our achievements. We are after all, more than just a club.
Paying a Living Wage makes a real difference to the lives of people in our city. It would be an excellent legacy from our 2013/14 season in the premiership. I am calling on Cardiff City to make that difference and make us proud!