Barcelona players ’reject offer to reduce wages’ amid coronavirus pandemic

  • Rob Swan

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the globe, many footballers are under pressure to temporarily reduce their wages.

Some players at various clubs have already agreed to wage cuts. At Leeds United, for example, the players, coaching staff and senior management team have all taken a wage deferral for the foreseeable future to ensure that all non-football staff can be paid.

This gesture has been universally praised by football fans on social media. Similar acts from other people involved in the sport have been, too.

Lionel Messi was hailed earlier this week for donating €1 million towards the battle against coronavirus.

The money will be split between Hospital Clinic in Barcelona and another medical centre in his home country.

However, a report has emerged courtesy of ESPN which is likely to lead to criticism of Messi and his Barcelona teammates.

ESPN are reporting that Barça’s players have rejected a proposal to have their wages significantly reduced as the club attempts to minimise the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic.

The players are understood to be willing to take a hit on their salaries, but they are not happy with the terms that have been suggested by the board so far.

Spanish newspaper AS confirm this is the case, adding that Barcelona’s four captains (Messi, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto) have rejected the proposal.

Negotiations between the club’s captains and the board are said to be continuing.

The wage cut, per Football Espana, would be applicable to all senior teams at the club – including the women’s football team and the men’s basketball team.

However, the focus is on the men’s senior football team, whose combined wage bill is over €500 million – the highest of any professional sports club in the world.

It’s understood that Barcelona can still apply the wage cut even if the players refuse to agree to it. It’s their legal right under Spain’s State of Emergency to apply the ERTE temporary redundancy scheme.

AS add: “President Josep Bartomeu tried to convince the players to accept a proposal that, according to various sources, was somewhat more generous than the one made to the professional teams in other sections of the club, such as the basketball side.

“The proposal under Spain’s temporary redundancy scheme (known as an ERTE in Spanish ‘expedientes de regulación temporal de empleo’) would see all of the club’s professional teams lose 70 percent of their salaries while they are not playing during the State of Emergency.

“However, Bartomeu is considering offering certain ‘compensations’ to first-team players so that their reduction would not exceed 50 percent — on the grounds that the first team are responsible for generating significantly more income that than the other teams.”

In the current climate, that doesn’t sound like a terrible deal for Barcelona’s players.

Messi, for example, would see his wage cut from £500,000-a-week (a figure revealed by last month) to £250,000-a-week at the most.

The same would apply to his teammates, although they all earn less than the team’s star man.

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