Sevilla said on Wednesday it planned to join Barcelona and other top Spanish clubs in slashing players’ wages by up to 70 per cent in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With Spain’s La Liga suspended indefinitely and club income sharply reduced, Sevilla said its decision would affect first team players as well as other playing staff and back room staff.

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That means “a reduction of 70 per cent of working hours for staff and men’s and women’s first team players and the reserves,” the club said, adding that players had agreed to the terms.

Sevilla joins Barcelona, Espanyol and other top clubs in taking advantage of a government scheme known by its initials ERTE that authorises salary cuts by up to 70 per cent in extreme circumstances.

La Liga, which estimates that clubs stand to lose around one billion euros if the season is not resumed, backs the move by clubs hoping to minimise the economic consequences of the virus.

Javier Tebas, La Liga president, said on Tuesday he expected most Spanish clubs to slash wage bills in the coming days.

“When we are working in the short-term with these measures applied to players, this is to save the future of football,” he said.

“That is what the players have to take into account.” With 146,690 COVID-19 cases and 14,555 deaths as of Wednesday, Spain stands behind Italy as Europe’s second worst-hit country.