Barca stars to have wages slashed before terms are agreed

Barcelona players will see their wages slashed despite the board and squad having yet to reach an agreement as tensions rumble on at the Catalan club.

The club’s hierarchy and star-studded squad have been at odds once more, with a reduction in wages mooted owing to the financial difficulties faced as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in Spain.

The senior members of the squad baulked at a proposed 70 per cent reduction in wages, with president Josep Maria Bartomeu looking to secure a more favourable compromise.

However, the Barcelona board have decided to go ahead and cut the players wages without securing the approval of the players, Marca reports.

With FIFA advocating that clubs should cut their players wages by 50 per cent while competitions have been halted, Barcelona have seized the incentive to cut the wages of their squad.

A statement from Barcelona’s board explained that since the players’ working hours have been reduced, it would follow that their wages should as well.

The move will see a number of the Catalan club’s high-profile stars, who are currently at home self-isolating, take a huge dent in their earnings.

Barcelona boast some of the highest-paid players in the world, including Lionel Messi who earns a staggering £500,000 per week before tax, not including any bonuses or image rights.

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

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

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 Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergio Roberto – refrained from making 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 and even included the unpredictable income stream of player sales in their financial plans, 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, the club was on course to fail to meet its ambitious target.

The discussions come amid the spread of the deadly coronavirus in Spain that has seen the country’s death toll skyrocket over the past week.

At the time of publication, Spain has the second-highest death toll in the world with 4,365 deaths as a result of the disease. That figure is only bested by Italy’s 8,215.

The Madrid region has suffered the brunt of the epidemic with 17,166 infections – just under a third of the total – and 2,090 deaths, which is 51 per cent of the national figure. Catalonia has also seen a sharp rise in cases of late.

Last week, Valencia’s football team revealed that 35 per cent of the squad had tested positive for Covid-19, with all cases being asymptomatic.

Real Madrid put themselves into quarantine earlier this month after a member of the basketball team tested positive. The football and basketball teams share a training facility, forcing the footballers to self-isolate.

Spain’s state of emergency has been extended by two weeks until April 11 as the country continues its battle to contain the pandemic.

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