Barcelona players take huge 70% pay cut to help club staff through coronavirus crisis

Lionel Messi has confirmed Barcelona players are taking a 70 per cent pay cut during the coronavirus pandemic.

Additional funds will be directed to club staff throughout the crisis with a statement made on Monday following reports that players were in dispute with the club over how big a cut they would take.

Negotiations were reported as ongoing between the squad and board over the exact nature of the reduction, with claims the players were only willing to accept a 50 per cent cut, but a breakthrough has now been made.

As well as taking a 70 per cut pay cut, stars will make contributions to ensure ordinary staff receive their salary in full during the suspension of football.

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First-team players including Messi and Luis Suarez released the statement on their social media accounts.

It read: “The time has come to announce that, aside from the reduction of 70 per cent of our salary during the state of emergency, we will also make contributions so that the club’s employees can collect 100 percent of their salaries while this situation lasts.

“Our desire has always been to take a pay cut, because we understand perfectly that this is an exceptional situation.”

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The Barcelona board have confirmed that joining in the temporary reduction are directors and the basketball side.

Their statement read: “The board staff members from all professional sports and most basketball teams have reached an agreement to reduce wages during the state of emergency.”

Messi, for example, is thought to earn £72.5million annually and this cut will save Barcelona as much as £13m if three months’ pay is reduced.

Negotiations over the pay cut led to reports the squad had rejected the 70 per cent figure, which was enforced by the board as part of the legally available measures created by the Spanish government during the crisis.

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However the statement insisted plans were always underway to take a significant decrease.

It added: “It never ceases to amaze us that from within the club there were some who tried to put us under the magnifying glass and tried to add pressure for us to do something that we always knew we would do.

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