I am not being sarcastic when I offer my congratulations and respect to Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata for his decision to pay 1% of his salary to the Common Goal charity. The purpose of the charity is, and I quote: “We’re uniting the world of footballers behind a shared commitment to give back. The idea is simple. Players pledge a minimum of 1% of their wages to a collective fund. And we allocate this fund to football charities that create the greatest impact worldwide.” Given that Mata earns £7 million a year which works out at a modest £135k a week, he will donate £70k a year to Common Goal. I say fair play that man.
Yes, I know that roughly half a week’s wages is not going to see Mata queueing at the local food bank and it’s fair to say he will not notice the small loss to his bank account, but my argument is simple: he didn’t need to do it. It is also not Mata’s fault that he earns £7 million a year. That’s my fault for paying Sky an extortionate monthly subscription so I can watch the likes of Mata playing his trade. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that Mata is somewhere near mid table in Premier League earnings. I’d imagine his team mates Paul Pogba and Romalu Lukaku trouser considerably more than double Mata’s weekly wage but when thou count your salary in many millions, the odd £7 million here or there scarcely matters.
I would imagine Mata’s £70k will make a significant difference to the lives of some young people somewhere in the world and we should be encouraging his fellow millionaires to do the same. We cannot make them, of course, but we always think more of someone who puts his or her hand in their pocket to help others who are less fortunate. I’m thinking of doing the same in my modest job for an internationally famous humanitarian which does not pay quite as well as Manchester United Football Club. 1% of my salary would be in the range of £6.50 which wouldn’t even pay for part of a decent standard football! Given the price of a pint these days, I probably wouldn’t miss my 1% anymore than Mata.