BARCELONA players are set to take a 50 per cent pay cut amid allegations they stunningly rejecting the club's offer of a larger reduction during the coronavirus pandemic.
This week, Spain overtook China as the second-worst hit country by the Covid-19 outbreak with 4,365 deaths confirmed so far.
Emergency measures have been put in place by the Spanish government during their lockdown with a temporary redundancy scheme known as ERTE available to employers – implementing a 70 per cent wage cut during the crisis.
Rather than deploy that scheme immediately, Barcelona bosses preferred to reach an agreement with the squad.
Several reports indicated difficult negotiations between the two parties, with Catalan radio station RAC detailing an initial push by the players to only take a 30 per cent cut.
According to AS, the outright 70 per cent option was shunned by players and club president Josep Maria Bartomeu was forced to offer various clauses that made up a 50 per cent cut.
Their reluctance of the mega-rich stars to agree to a larger decrease outraged fans, who themselves were counting the cost of the pandemic's economic wrecking ball.
It is thought the Barcelona squad earns around £549million annually, on top of the £335m paid to the rest of the club staff.
Regardless, the club reportedly decided to act on Thursday night after a late night board meeting, held via teleconference.
And while a reduction has been announced, a final deal is yet to be reached.
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For now, Barcelona are following the ERTE route, enforcing a 70 per cent cut that is legally available to them, adamant that a reduction is necessary whether or not the players agree with the details.
But the repercussions of the move are still unfolding with local newspaper Sport describing the "tension" around the Camp Nou on Friday's front page.
Marca report that even Fifa and the European Club Association were drafted in to mediate the lengthy talks.
Bartomeu has reportedly stressed that the Catalans are in the economic mire while all of their income streams are slashed for the foreseeable future.
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