Atletico joins Espanyol in requesting player, staff paycuts

Atletico is among a raft of clubs set to take a huge financial hit due to the suspension of football in Spain, one of the countries worst hit by COVID-19.

Diego Simeone

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone   -  Getty Images

Atletico Madrid became the latest La Liga club to request labour authorities to allow the club to cut player and staff salaries while football is suspended in Spain due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement on Friday, club CEO Miguel Angel Gil said that it was “obliged” to propose a partial unemployment plan “for the employees who, due to the state of emergency in our country, can no longer carry their work“.

Atletico is among a raft of clubs set to take a huge financial hit due to the indefinite suspension of football in Spain, one of the countries worst hit by COVID-19.

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Gil did not outline by how much salaries would be cut, but confirmed that the measure concerned both players and staff.

Earlier on Friday, La Liga’s bottom club Espanyol asked labour authorities in Catalonia to allow cut player and staff salaries by 70 percent.

Espanyol said that the proposed reduction regards players and coaching staff from the men’s and women’s first teams, Espanyol B and youth teams, and was made “unilaterally for reasons of urgency“.

City rivals Barcelona said on Thursday that it was cutting salaries - although they did not specify who would be affected - in order to stave off financial issues, with football in Spain suspended until further notice as the country joins Italy at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic In Germany, players at Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have accepted pay cuts.

The clubs’ move to cut salaries has left the players’ union Fifpro concerned.

“We are extremely concerned that a significant number of clubs, in more than half a dozen countries, have begun to immediately lay off players or unilaterally reduce their salaries,” Fifpro said in a statement.

The union called on clubs experiencing financial hardship to meet their national leagues to find a fair and proportionate solution.

“At a time of such a significant social crisis, solutions must be found with everybody’s contribution,” Fifpro added.

“Most football players outside the world’s biggest leagues are earning at the same level or below average domestic income and would be severely affected by salary decreases.”

On Friday, the Spanish government announced that over 4,800 people have died in the country as a result of the coronavirus after 769 people died in the previous 24 hours, a record one-day figure for fatalities in Spain.

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