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.
There was a deadline in place for last week but both parties were given an extension until tomorrow to thrash out a deal which would save the club £170million amid dire financial issues during the coronavirus pandemic.
Players’ wages ate up around 61 per cent of the club’s £940m revenue before the Covid-19 crisis, with captain Lionel Messi the current highest earner at the club and 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 to the players within their contractual years.
Lionel Messi is Barcelona’s highest earner and is set to take a cut on his £500k-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 per week (£15.3m per year)
Gerard Pique – £220,000 per week (£11.4m per year)
Philippe Coutinho – £180,000 per week (£9.4m per year)
Jordi Alba – £170,000 per week (£8.8m per year)
Sergio Busquets- £170,000 per week (£8.8m per year)
The report adds that what remains to be negotiated is the specific amounts players won’t be paid for now, 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 per week (£15.3m per year), while Philippe Coutinho is the next highest yet to agree a salary cut, on £180,000 per week (£9.4m per year).
Each player’s 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 as soon as he has potentially left the club in June 2021.
President of the Spanish players union (AFE) 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.
Barca’s £940m income has dropped to £746m amid the pandemic, and salaries will become over 80 per cent of total revenue if changes are not made.
If Barcelona’s playing staff do not agree to cuts then the board would be forced into unilaterally reducing their income.
Philippe Coutinho (left) 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 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.’
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 three weeks 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.
Frenkie De Jong (left) and Gerard Pique are two of four players to have agreed to pay deferrals
Josep Bartomeu walked away as president last month after being heavily scrutinised
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.
Earlier in the year, Barca senior players took a string of pay-cuts in line with the club’s battling against the crushing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Players took a 70 per cent pay-cut back in March to ensure non-playing staff received all of their wages with the pandemic shutting down the sport.
Club shops are just one source of Barcelona revenue hammered by the Covid-19 pandemic