Barcelona confident they will reach a deal to cut player wages by 30 per cent TODAY with the club needing to slash £170m from their budget to stave off bankruptcy fears
- Club executives extended the original deadline last week to November 11
- Cutting the salaries of the first-team would save the club a whopping £170m
- Lionel Messi is Barcelona’s highest earner, on around £500,000-a-week
- Four players, including Gerard Pique, have agreed effective wage deferrals
- Spanish media report progress has been made and a deal is likely to be reached
- If the deadline is not met, then Barcelona could impose unilateral pay cuts
- The Spanish players’ union has threatened that players could then leave for free
Barcelona executives are confident they can strike a deal with the club’s top earners to slash their wages by 30 per cent today to stave off fears of bankruptcy.
Whilst there was a deadline in place for last week, both parties were given an extension until tomorrow – November 11 – to thrash out a deal which would save the club £170million amid income issues during the coronavirus pandemic.
Players’ wages took up around 61 per cent of the club’s £940m income before the COVID-19 crisis, with captain Lionel Messi the current highest earner at the club pocketing around £500,000 per week (£26m per year), but Mundo Deportivo report that the first obstacle has already been cleared – namely that money cut from salaries will be returned within the contractual years of the player concerned.
Lionel Messi is Barcelona’s highest earner and will take a cut on his £500,000-a-week wages
Executives are confident a deal can be reached with first-team stars to save the club £170m
Wednesday is the new deadline for Barca to agree pay cuts, in order to stave off bankruptcy
BARCA’S BIG EARNERS
Lionel Messi – £500,000 per week (£26m per year)
Antoine Griezmann – £294,000-a-week (£15.3m per year)
Gerard Pique – £220,000-a-week (£11.4m per year)
Philippe Coutinho – £180,000-a-week (£9.4m per year)
Jordi Alba – £170,000-a-week (£8.8m per year)
Sergio Busquets- £170,000-a-week (£8.8m per year)
The report adds that what remains to be negotiated is the specific amounts players won’t be paid, as well as when these amounts will be paid back during their contract in small instalments.
Of the current Barcelona squad, only four players have so far agreed to this – Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Frenkie De Jong, Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique.
Antoine Griezmann is the next highest earner on wages of £294,000-a-week (£15.3m per year), while Philippe Coutinho is the next highest yet to agree a salary cut, on £180,000-a-week (£9.4m per year).
Each players’ situation is complicated with Messi’s deal, for example, expiring at the end of this season, meaning he could be entitled to pick up fees cut when he has left the club in June 2021.
President of the players union, David Aganzo, has travelled to Barcelona to meet with the first-team and interim president Carles Tusquets, to discuss the situation.
The playing squad are said to be sensitive to the club’s cash-flow problem, and there is confidence that an agreement will be reached.
Player wages take up around 61 per cent of the club’s £940m income before the coronavirus pandemic took hold. But since income has dropped to £746m, salaries have become over 80 per cent of total income if changes are not made.
If Barcelona’s playing staff do not agree to either proposal then the board would be forced into unilaterally reducing their income.
Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann are two of Barcelona’s highest-paid players
Barca’s interim chief Carles Tusquets is tasked with negotiating pay cuts with first-team stars
Doing so though would cause an unsavoury backlash and the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) has already indicated that if that was to happen then the players would be released from their contracts.
In part of their statement released last month, the AFE wrote: ‘The club cannot fail to be aware that this process, if carried out in the terms set forth, will entail a more than secure challenge to the measures that are finally adopted, with a high risk of nullity, and the automatic right to indemnified termination of the employment contract of the affected workers, by virtue of the application of article 41 ET itself.
‘We believe that the club must be frank with its members and assume before them that these measures will lead to a very significant loss of FC Barcelona’s assets.’
Frenkie De Jong (left) and Gerard Pique are two of four players to have agreed to pay deferrals
Club shops are just one source of revenue hammered by the Covid-19 pandemic
It has been a turbulent year for Barca since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the last few weeks have been particularly difficult.
Just a fortnight ago the resignation of president Josep Bartomeu finally came after months of constant criticism – most notably from Messi, who sought to quit the club in the summer due to his displeasure at Bartomeu’s leadership.
Barcelona’s interim president, Tusquets, wants elections to take place before the end of the year as he tries to put the club’s finances in order as quickly as possible.