AHEAD OF THE GAME: All of Leeds’ 580 staff to cash in on club reaching the big time after promotion to the Premier League was confirmed… and there will be no Royals at the FA Cup final next month

Every one of Leeds United’s 580 employees, from coach Marcelo Bielsa to staff working in the club shop, will receive a bonus and a pay rise as a result of their promotion to the Premier League, which was sealed on Friday night. 

The club will shell out more than £19million in bonuses alone on the back of returning to the top flight for the first time in 16 years, the result of a generous performance-related scheme introduced by controversial former owner Massimo Cellino, who sold up to Andrea Radrizzani three years ago. 

Leeds will also be obliged to pay around £5m in transfer add-ons to other clubs following promotion. These short-term costs will be far outweighed by the commercial value of being back in the Premier League, which could reach more than £200m.

AHEAD OF THE GAME: All of Leeds’ 580 staff to cash in on club reaching the big time

Every one of Leeds’ 580 employees will receive a bonus and a pay rise as a result of promotion

NO ROYALS AT THE FA CUP FINAL 

The FA Cup final will be a royal-free zone next month with FA president the Duke of Cambridge indicating to the governing body that he is not planning to attend the climax of the domestic season as normal. 

The Duke’s expected absence from Wembley this year is particularly unfortunate as he was an influential voice in the decision to rename this year’s event the Heads Up FA Cup final, which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues. 

The FA have no plans to invite any other special guests at present so it is expected that the Royal Box will not be used for the presentation ceremony which is likely to be on the pitch.

England manager Gareth Southgate will be at Wembley for the semi-finals, the first games he will have attended since lockdown, as reported by Sportsmail last week.

AHEAD OF THE GAME: All of Leeds’ 580 staff to cash in on club reaching the big time

The Duke of Cambridge confirmed he will not be attending the FA Cup final next month

NEW PORSCHE IS POOR FORM 

Derby chief executive Stephen Pearce has caused much chuntering at the club by turning up at a recent game in a new Porsche bearing a personalised number plate — at a time when numerous staff are still on furlough and their wages are not being topped up.

Pearce’s choice of wheels has also raised eyebrows among the players as they, along with manager Phillip Cocu and his coaching team, have all taken pay cuts of up to 25 per cent depending on their earnings.

EAGLES STARS MADE TO WAIT FOR A TRIM

Crystal Palace’s players were the last in the Premier League to indulge in post-lockdown haircuts following strict instructions from the club’s medical staff.

Palace’s first-team doctor Zafar Iqbal is also chair of the Premier League’s medical committee who have been overseeing the return-to-play protocols. He has made it clear to the players that they could not be seen to be sporting new hairstyles before the Government sanctioned the re-opening of barbers and salons on July 4. 

Other clubs appear to have been less stringent in policing their players’ personal grooming, as there were numerous suspiciously fresh-looking haircuts on show when the Premier League returned on June 17.

AHEAD OF THE GAME: All of Leeds’ 580 staff to cash in on club reaching the big time

Palace’s players were the last in the Premier League to indulge in post-lockdown haircuts

SAVE GAMES FOR FANS’ RETURN 

Football League clubs will face a lopsided schedule next season following the Government’s announcement on Friday that fans will not be permitted to attend matches until October at the earliest.

And there is the resultant danger of burnout and injury from fixture congestion towards the end of the campaign.

The EFL Board are currently consulting clubs over whether to start the 2020-21 season on August 29 or September 12, the date on which the Premier League will resume. 

Either way the fixture list will see significantly more matches played after Christmas in an attempt to maximise revenue from gate receipts. 

Clubs had been lobbying the Government for spectators to be admitted to games in September so the announcement of an October return is a blow, particularly given crowds are likely to be limited to 25 per cent of capacity due to the ongoing requirement for social distancing.

It is hoped that bigger crowds will be permitted next year, which is why more than half the games will take place after Christmas.

AHEAD OF THE GAME: All of Leeds’ 580 staff to cash in on club reaching the big time

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said crowds could return to sports stadiums from October

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