Coronavirus: European soccer players to take a pay cut?

Published by Alexandre G. · Published on 8 April 2020 at 15h33
With the health crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic and the adjournment of sport championships, European soccer clubs are facing major revenue loss. National leagues, the Premier League being at the top of the list, demand elite players to cut their wages. In France, an agreement is in talks.

After short-time work, will soccer players soon have to take a wage cut? Facing the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, national leagues organizers from the different European soccer championships are trying to find an agreement on wage cut for players. A cut that would be of about a third of the yearly gross pay.

As it is already happening in Italy and Germany. As a matter of fact, on Monday April 6, L'Equipe newspaper informed us the Lega Serie A, the Italian elite championship, negotiated this kind of agreement with their own players. Excluding Turin Juventus, the decision has been adopted unanimously by clubs. Same speech in Germany since German clubs quickly adopted the new wage cut policy even though cuts are more of 10 to 20%. In Spain, some players such as Gerard Piqué from Barcelona agreed to a 70% cut on their pay stub as long as the epidemic lasts.

In France, talks are still on going. This Tuesday April 7, Le Parisien informed us that a group of work including the players’ trade union, the UNFP, and club presidents was created. The goal? Find a large consensus that will not put smaller clubs in a difficult position but that would be meaningful enough. PSG president Nasser al-Khelaïfi has already said he was “in favor of” a wage cut for Ligue 1 players. Yet, there’s to know how big the cut will be. A question that is still a debate while broadcasters Canal and BeIN haven’t yet agreed to pay their due for April.

Yet, it’s in England the movement has started. While the head of the government Boris Johnson is still in intensive care since Sunday April 5, the question about players taking a pay cut sparks off a controversy and sows dissent in the country. Health Minister Matt Hancock stirred up a hornet’s nest saying on an official address that “everybody needs to play their part in this national effort and that means Premier League footballers too”.

For players’ union trade and for Newcastle defender Danny Rose, the problem is that “It was just not needed for people who are not involved in football to tell footballers what they should do with their money.” For now, sportsmen, all into forced technical unemployment, are uniting at their scale between major donations and launching of solidarity movements. Double sentence?

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