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Barcelona initiate new round of pay cuts despite player opposition

FOOTBALL By Reuters | October 22nd 2020
Barcelona's Lionel Messi scores a penalty during the Champions League group G soccer match between FC Barcelona and Ferencvaros at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. [AP Photo/Joan Monfort]

Barcelona have formally begun the process to introduce a wage cut on players and staff, the LaLiga club said on Wednesday, the latest move to mitigate the crippling effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on its finances.

Barca announced a record loss of 97 million euros (Sh12 billion) earlier this month and a 14% fall in revenue from the previous year but said it was braced for far bigger reductions this season.

The club imposed a temporary pay cut of 70% earlier this year lasting the duration of the national state of alarm, which began in March and ended in June.

"The impact of the pandemic this year is much stronger than in the previous one, in which the incidence was limited to the last quarter. The current season will be affected in its entirety, so the negative impact will multiply exponentially," said Barca's statement.

"The club anticipates a drop in revenue of more than 30% and is therefore compelled to find immediate solutions that will help reduce spending."

The pandemic led to LaLiga pausing for three months before resuming without spectators, badly affecting matchday and commercial revenue.

Supporters are not expected back into Spanish top-flight stadiums until a vaccine is widely available, from January at the earliest.

While all players agreed to the previous pay cut and took an extra hit to ensure non-sporting staff continued to receive their full pay packets during the state of alarm, many members of the squad have opposed the latest round of cuts.

Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, defenders Clement Lenglet, Gerard Pique and midfielder Frenkie de Jong have already agreed to the temporary pay cut, which has been incorporated into new contracts for the four players which were announced on Tuesday.

Barcelona players celebrate the opening goal of their team during the Champions League group G soccer match between FC Barcelona and Ferencvaros at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. [AP Photo/Joan Monfort]

Spain's footballer's union (AFE) said earlier on Wednesday they supported the players in opposing the pay cuts as they were not receiving the appropriate representation in negotiations.

The first team squad have neglected to choose a player to represent them in the negotiations due to their opposition, although Barca said they would welcome their representation.

"The club's aim is to reach an agreement with its entire workforce, which will go through a joint solution of temporary, gradual, proportional, and specific salary adjustment for each of the groups," added Barca's statement.

"All of this will surely help meet this season’s budget and lay the groundwork for the challenges ahead once this global health crisis is over." 

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