Messi confirms pay cut for Barca players, criticises board

666

MADRID, March 30, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Lionel Messi confirmed on Monday that
Barcelona’s players will take a 70 per cent pay cut and make financial
contributions to ensure the club’s other employees are paid in full during
the state of alarm in Spain.

In a lengthy message posted on his Instagram account, Messi also took
another swipe at the Barca board, led by president Josep Maria Bartomeu, whom
he accused of undermining the players during recent negotiations.

Other Spanish clubs are expected to follow suit in applying temporary pay
cuts, as football’s hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic leaves a number of
them fighting for financial survival.

Atletico Madrid have said the club will impose salary reductions on staff
whose hours have been affected while Espanyol have also confirmed pay cuts,
although for sporting staff only.

“For our part, the time has come to announce that, as well as the
reduction of 70 per cent of our salary during the State of Alarm, we will
also make contributions so the club’s employees can collect 100 per cent of
their salary while this situation lasts,” Messi wrote.

He added: “We want to clarify that our desire has always been to apply a
drop in salary because we fully understand that this is an exceptional
situation and we are the first ones who have ALWAYS helped the club when
asked.

“Many times we have even done it on our own initiative when we thought it
necessary or important.

“Therefore, it never ceases to amaze us that from within the club there
were those who tried to put us under the magnifying glass and tried to add
pressure to do something that we always knew we would do.”

Messi’s message was soon posted on the pages of nearly all of his
Barcelona teammates, including Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Luis Suarez,
Jordi Alba, Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong, Arturo Vidal and Marc-Andre
ter Stegen.

The relationship between Barca’s players and board has been tense for
several months, with Messi’s public criticism of technical secretary Eric
Abidal in February just one of a number of off-field controversies.

Barcelona released their own statement shortly afterwards on Monday, which
said members of “all professional sports teams and most of the basketball
team” had agreed to reduce their salaries.

It added: “In the case of the football first team the reduction will be
more than 70 per cent as agreed with the club. This additional contribution
by the team, plus the contribution from the club itself, will guarantee 100
per cent of the salaries of all non-sporting staff, who will be subjected to
temporary redundancy this week.”