Barcelona are expected to announce temporary redundancies next week, but the club will still need their high-earning players to make wage sacrifices if they are to avoid financial meltdown because of the economic impact of the coronavirus.
The club was already struggling to meet its pre-season budget forecast. Directors announced last September that they would be the first club to break the 1 billion euros (£924million) barrier for revenue. But that figure was, in part, dependent on selling players to bring in around £92m (100m euros).
Those problems have now multiplied as all revenue streams are reduced to almost zero by the effects of the coronavirus.
The club relies on ticket sales, museum visitors and shirt sales but all have been decimated and there is an anticipation that some sponsors might also withhold payments as they face their own financial problems. The non-conclusion of this season would also endanger revenue from television contracts.
Barcelona directors held a video-link meeting on Friday where the possibility of cutting players’ salaries was discussed. But putting such drastic measures in practice will be complicated. Renegotiating deals with individual players and cutting salaries but increasing length of contracts could work in some cases.
But the club believe players could take the initiative themselves, especially in view of the way the non-playing staff are likely to be hard hit by measures set to be announced in the coming days.
Spanish employment law allows companies to lay-off staff for a period of time in exceptional circumstances, obliging them to re-hire those laid off when said circumstances are no longer in existence. The so-called ‘ERTE’ is likely to be applied by clubs to non-playing staff, across Spain in the next few days and Barcelona will be no different.