Barcelona will decide next week whether to temporally reduce the salaries of some first-team players to counteract the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus, sources have told ESPN.
Sources also told ESPN that the players are aware of the discussions and would need to give the green light for the club to temporarily cut their salaries.
During a conference call on Friday in which members of the club’s board met remotely, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu explained to his fellow members that the financial situation is “complicated” but it is still “reversible” if certain measures are taken.
Barcelona are not considering any temporary layoffs yet but sources have told ESPN that, due to the absence of income, players might need to cut their wages while games remain suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Global Sports Salary Survey, Barcelona is the first team in history to have an average individual salary in excess of €11 million a year.
Furthermore, other sources told ESPN that players from Barcelona and from other clubs are in regular contact with the union representing Spain’s players (AFE) in order to try to resolve a number of doubts over the matter.
Sources from Barcelona told ESPN that Bartomeu is leading the negotiations with members of the ECA (Association of European Clubs) and UEFA, as there is a general concern regarding the financial implications of the coronavirus in the club’s operations.
Meanwhile, Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau is in talks with La Liga and other clubs around Europe so that they take concerted measures to address the impact of the coronavirus.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has insisted several times that the season will be completed once the situation improves.
“It is vital for Barcelona’s financial stability,” sources from the club told ESPN while pointing out the large amount of revenue potentially earned in Champions League. “Other clubs that have already done their job but Barca must keep fighting for the La Liga title and for continuing to advance in the Champions League.”
So far, Barcelona have generated €22.1m from the group stage of the Champions League and could add a further €37.5m if they reach the final. A victory would provide €4m more to the Camp Nou coffers with an extra €3.5m for playing in the UEFA Super Cup.
The target is to cushion the financial impact that Barcelona and the rest of Spanish and European clubs are suffering due to the suspension of leagues.
Barca have closed their official stores, the club’s museum, worldwide academies, and Camp Nou itself — therefore earning no money from ticketing or VIP boxes.
Sources have told ESPN that Barcelona have found an important source of income from the marketing department as the kit sales have increased online but that money is not enough to make up the numbers.