Barcelona‘s desperate attempts to shave £170million off their budget have been frustrated after the board failed to agree pay-cuts with players.
The LaLiga side are seeking to slash first team wages by 30 per cent to stave off fears of bankruptcy but have made no progress with Lionel Messi and Co despite ‘several days of intense meetings’, they revealed on Wednesday.
A statement read: ‘Today, November 11, after several days of intense meetings, and the negotiation was exhausted, the parties have ended the consultation period, without reaching an agreement.’
Barcelona have failed in their attempts to agree wage cuts with their first team players
Lionel Messi is the club’s highest earner on a deal worth around £500,000 a week
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)
Barcelona have been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic and have seen their finances take a major hit.
Players’ wages ate up around 61 per cent of the club’s £940m revenue before the Covid-19 crisis, with captain Messi the current highest earner at the club as he pockets around £500,000 per week (£26m per year).
The statement detailed that while current negotiations have been ‘exhausted’, both sides have agreed an extension to the deadline, running until November 23.
‘Given that the negotiating process has shown the sincere and firm will of the parties to understand, including the formula for full recovery of wages to be postponed, and many of the difficulties that seemed days ago have been overcome,’ the statement continued.
‘The parties have agreed to grant themselves a deadline of November 23, in order to reflect and decide whether the approaches that have remained on the table can still be accepted.’
Of the current Barcelona squad, only four players have so far agreed to revised terms – Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Frenkie de Jong, Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique.
Antoine Griezmann is the next highest earner behind Messi 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).
President of the Spanish players union (AFE) David Aganzo travelled to Barcelona to meet with the first-team and interim president Carles Tusquets to discuss the situation.
Frenkie De Jong (left) and Gerard Pique are two of four players to have agreed to pay deferrals
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 even with the process ‘exhausted’ at this stage.
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.
The club sold Luis Suárez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal in the summer in a bid to shift some of the veteran big earners in the dressing room.
If Barcelona’s playing staff do not agree to cuts then the board would be forced into unilaterally reducing their income.
But unilateral cuts present their own problems.
They 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.
Philippe Coutinho (left) and Antoine Griezmann are two of Barcelona’s highest-paid players
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.’
Finances have troubled the Catalan giants for most of the year and it remains a real concern that they still do not have a lid on their operational costs.
Earlier in the year, Barcelona’s 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.
Ronald Koeman’s side now sit eighth in LaLiga, nine points adrift of table-topping Real Sociedad. They have two games in hand on the San Sebastien side.
BARCELONA STATEMENT IN FULL
Today, November 11, after several days of intense meetings, and the negotiation was exhausted, the parties have ended the consultation period, without reaching an agreement.
In this situation, it is up to the Management Board to take decisions to resolve the serious financial problem arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, which causes a reduction in the Club’s revenues of more than 300 million euros for the 2020/21 season, and which requires a salary adjustment of 191 million euros.
Despite this, given that the negotiating process has shown the sincere and firm will of the parties to understand, including the formula for full recovery of wages to be postponed, and many of the difficulties that seemed days ago have been overcome. insurmountable, the parties have agreed to grant themselves a deadline of November 23, in order to reflect and decide whether the approaches that have remained on the table can still be accepted.
All parties know that the negotiation is exhausted, but both the Club and the professional footballers and the group of corporate workers, we are very aware of the immense value that would have to overcome together and with full understanding this complex situation, despite, to achieve this, the Club must accept not being able to reach the required minimum milestones and, in the case of professional footballers, must make a contribution greater than their expectations.
Consequently, it remains to thank both the professional footballers and the other corporate workers of the Club for their willingness to understand, and wish that this period of reflection will bear fruit, although, if unfortunately it were not so, we can not shy away. the responsibility to make the decision that is essential for the Club.