Barcelona FINALLY reach agreement with players

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Barcelona FINALLY reach agreement with players to implement wage cuts which will save club £109m… but that falls short of £170m target and first-team stars still need to ratify proposal
Barcelona confirmed in a statement on Friday night of the agreement in principle
Talks have been ongoing between the club and first-team stars for months
Manager Ronald Koeman agreed a cut to his £10m-a-year salary this week
Players have followed suit with £109m saved & £45m deferred over three years
But the combined figure of £154m still falls short of the club’s £170m target

Barcelona have confirmed that they have reached an agreement in principle with their players to implement wage cuts which will save the club a staggering £109m (€122m).

Talks have been ongoing for months for squad-wide wage cuts amid financial turmoil at the Nou Camp caused by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with manager Ronald Koeman taking a cut on his £10m-a-year salary this week.

And on Friday night, Barca finally announced an agreement has been reached which will save £109m – yet with the club also deferring £45m (€50m) of variable payments over a three-year period on top of that, it still falls short of the £170m figure the club has long been targeting to save via player salaries.

The combined figure of £154m saved/deferred still falls £16m short of the club’s original £170m target to save.

The club statement details that though there is an agreement in principle, the playing staff must ratify the proposals in the coming days.

Last week, Barcelona’s wage cap was reduced from £601m to £342m by LaLiga in the wake of the financial pressures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas said the cuts were necessary to bring down the ‘excessive spending’ of Spanish clubs, given supporters are still unable to attend matches.

Barca’s latest figures showed the club had made an £88m loss and had racked up a net debt that had doubled to £440m, as of June 2020.

Barcelona are yet to agree on squad-wide wage reductions after players agreed to a 70 per cent cut in March.

While some players – such as Gerard Pique and Frenkie de Jong – had agreed to 30 per cent wage deferrals, top earners like Lionel Messi had not before Friday.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Clement Lenglet have also agreed new contracts, which indicates the four have agreed reduced salaries in the short-term but will be reimbursed with an improved deal in the long-term.

Captain Messi is the current highest earner at the club as he pockets around £500,000 per week (£26m per year) while Antoine Griezmann takes in around £249,000-a-week (£15.3m) and Philippe Coutinho £180,000-a-week (£9.4m).

But there has now been a crucial breakthrough, after months of negotiations with several previous deadlines by the club missed.

After agreeing his own salary cut this week, manager Koeman was reportedly going to talk to the first-team about the ongoing wage cuts issue on Friday and encourage them to act swiftly – without imposing anything on his players.

The Dutch coach was keen to put the issue to bed so the players can focus solely on matters on the pitch, following an indifferent start to the season.

Though Barca have comfortably qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, they are lying in a lowly 13th in LaLiga, having won just three of their eight games so far.

The club recognised in their statement the ‘great effort’ that had gone into reaching the agreement and ‘congratulated’ those involved in talks.

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