Atlético Madrid and Espanyol join Barcelona in cutting wages

Espanyol and Atlético Madrid have followed Barcelona in announcing that they will apply temporary pay cuts to their players as a result of the economic impact of the coronovirus pandemic. A handful of other Spanish first division clubs are expected to follow suit in the coming days, although Real Valladolid have announced that none of their staff will be subject to cuts.

Barcelona had been unable to reach an agreement with their players, despite their willingness to negotiate a reduction. But the club will unilaterally apply legislation, known as an ERTE, which allows them to temporarily cut wages in exceptional circumstances. Atlético have also applied their wage cuts under this measure.

A statement issued by Barcelona on Thursday night said the cuts would “essentially reflect a reduction in the working day and thus a proportionate reduction in salary” and would apply to “both sporting and non-sport staff”.

The city’s other club, Espanyol, announced that they would apply cuts but said those would apply to sporting staff only: from the men’s and women’s first teams to the B team and the two Under-19 sides. According to the club’s statement, the players have been advised and “understand and respect” the measure, conscious of “how delicate the situation is”. They are prepared, Espanyol have said, “to each an amicable agreement with the club without having to take more drastic measures”.

Legislation allows clubs to lean on state support for as long as the state of emergency is in force. Barcelona and Espanyol have announced that they will put their facilities at the disposition of the health authorities as the coronavirus crisis begins to accelerate in Catalonia.

La Liga meanwhile will stage an online charity concert on Saturday evening, in which more than 30 artists will perform, including Alejandro Sanz, Juanes, David Bisbal and José Mercé, each presented by a player from Spain’s first division, with the captains from every club included. The proceeds will go towards buying materials to assist in the fight against Covid-19, which has claimed almost 5,000 lives in Spain.