Chelsea Eto
Chelsea's Samuel Eto'o celebrates after scoring during an English Premier League football match Reuters

Chelsea have become the first English professional football club to be accredited as a Living Wage employer.

The move means that from January next year the Fulham-based club will pay all directly employed members off staff a minimum of £9.15 ($14.33, €11.51) in London or £7.85 an hour outside of the capital – a significantly higher rate than the current National Minimum Wage (NMW) of £6.50.

"As a responsible employer we are proud of this significant achievement for the club," said Bruce Buck, the chairman of Chelsea.

"We believe the move to the Living Wage underlines our commitment to ensuring that all our employees receive a fair rate of pay for their hard work and dedication. Quite simply it is the right thing to do."

The club has also promised to start the process of ensuring staff of external contractors will also receive the Living Wage for working at Stamford Bridge, its Cobham training ground and all areas where the club operates.

Chelsea will also ensure any additional agency employees not currently meeting the criteria to receive the Living Wage will also get the same rates of pay – the process will be completed by July 2017.

"Our great football teams are household names around the world, their every action is scrutinised in microscopic detail and by becoming the first professional sports team to commit to pay the London Living Wage Chelsea are setting the right example," said Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.

"They realise their team is more than just the 11 men out on the pitch, and that by putting more pounds in the pockets of their staff they are signing up to a win-win scenario that rewards a hard day's work with a fair day's pay for everyone."