Covid-19: Barca risk going to ‘war’ with star players over wage cut


Covid-19: Barca risk going to 'war' with star players over wage cut
Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona v Eibar - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - February 22, 2020 Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their third goal to complete his hat-trick REUTERS/Albert Gea

In Summary

  • Barcelona had already admitted to certain problems in raising the €120m to sign Griezmann last summer. 'It hasn't been easy,' said president Josep Bartomeu of the deal. Barcelona took out a short-term loan of €35m to help pay that fee.

Barcelona’s board are at risk of starting a war with their quarantined stars after attempting to push through radical plans for them to take huge wage cuts of as much as 70 per cent as the coronavirus crisis continues to cause havoc in Spain.

Club directors are due to discuss the matter in a video conference today (Thursday) where the temporary laying-off non-playing staff, and amateur sportsman, and the implementation of a wage-cut across the entire club – including players – will be up for debate.

As of yet there has been no green light from the dressing room to go ahead with slashing salaries for as long as the country remains in lockdown.

Diario Sport reported on Thursday that there are differences of opinion about the degree to which players should pay the price for the consequences of the season stopping three months short.

A cut of 70 per cent would dramatically reduce the wages of Barca’s biggest stars, with Lionel Messi currently earning a basic salary of £500,000 a week before tax, not including any bonuses or image rights.

Antoine Griezmann pockets £294,000 a week, Luiz Suarez takes home £290,000 a week, and Gerard Pique earns £220,000 every seven days.

In a video conference meeting last Friday, cutting players’ wages was broached and WhatsApp group chats among directors and players have been in overdrive ever since.

But whenever there has been communication between the two groups, the players – led by captains Messi, Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergio Roberto – have yet to make it clear they would back the proposal, at least not at the 70 per cent figures floated.

Barcelona are set to be harder hit financially than most clubs in the coming months. They were ambitious last summer when they announced their budget for the season.

They were desperate to be the first club to break the €1billion barrier for revenue. So desperate, in fact, that when they laid out their financial plans they included the unpredictable income stream of player sales with around €120m marked down as the sum the club could bring in across the season by selling its stars.

Even without the coronavirus crisis, they were on course to fail to meet that particular target. Despite a willingness to sell players such as Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal, the only business Barcelona were able to do in the summer involved relatively low-cost deals that saw B-team players and reserves such as Abel Ruiz and Carles Perez leave the club.

Barcelona had already admitted to certain problems in raising the €120m to sign Griezmann last summer. ‘It hasn’t been easy,’ said president Josep Bartomeu of the deal. Barcelona took out a short-term loan of €35m to help pay that fee.

In January they resisted buying a striker even though they were aware that second top scorer Luis Suarez would be out for the rest of the season.

Bartomeu has still not ruled out reaching an agreement with players on Thursday but there is a sense that some – and it is not necessarily the highest earners – believe their contributions both on the pitch and off the pitch in a commercial sense, are what gives Barcelona its record breaking revenue streams.

They believe they should not bear the brunt of panic measures to bail the club out – at least not when a certain degree of mismanagement has made them even more ill-equipped than they might otherwise have been for such an unexpected and unprecedented moving of the proverbial financial goalposts.

The coronavirus outbreak has made it a financially turbulent time for clubs across the continent after almost all football came to a halt. The decimation of the current season has left the future of clubs in limbo, with a number asking players to take a wage cut in order to keep their clubs afloat.

Leeds United’s playing squad have voluntarily taken a wage deferral to ensure that non-playing staff do not lose out, while Birmingham City have halved their players wages during this period of uncertainty.

Barcelona had been leading La Liga by two points prior to the postponement of the season due to the spread of the deadly disease.

 

All football in Spain has been put on hold indefinitely as the number of deaths continue to rise in the country. On Wednesday, Spain’s death toll eclipsed China, with 4,089 recorded deaths at time of publication.

Courtesy-Daily Mail Online

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