Juventus players, coach agree to pay cut due to virus

The players keen to ease financial burden on club during virus outbreak. (AP pic)

TURIN: Juventus players and coach Maurizio Sarri have reached an agreement over a wage reduction that will save the Italian champions €90 million, the Serie A club announced on Saturday.

Sarri and the first-team players have agreed what amounts to a four-month pay reduction to help Italy’s most successful club during the coronavirus crisis.

The effective one-third cut to the players’ annual salaries will mean a huge drop in wages for a squad headed by marquee Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo, the best-paid footballer in Italy who is reported to earn €31 million a year.

The agreement comes at a time when many clubs around Europe have had to cut wage bills because of the dramatic impact of matches having had to be postponed or played behind closed doors due to the spread of the virus.

“The economic and financial effects of the understanding reached are positive for about €90 million for the 2019/2020 financial year”, Juventus said in a statement.

“The understanding provides for the reduction of the compensation for an amount equal to the monthly payments of March, April, May and June 2020”, it added, saying personal agreements with Sarri and the players will be finalised in the coming weeks.

The Turin-based club, in one of the regions hit hardest by the crisis, have suffered in recent weeks with three of their players having tested positive for the virus – forward Paulo Dybala, defender Daniele Rugani and midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

Football around the world has been brought to a standstill by the pandemic with Italy having suffered more than 10,000 deaths from the virus, the highest number in any country.

Italy’s top-fight Serie A league has been suspended since March 9 with Juventus, seeking a ninth successive title, leading the league by one point from Lazio with 12 games each remaining.

Health emergency

“Juventus Football Club announces that, due to the current global health emergency (which) is preventing the performance of the sporting activity, it has reached an understanding with the players and the coach of the First Team regarding their compensation for the residual portion of the current sport season,” the club statement said.

“The understanding provides for the reduction of the compensation for an amount equal to the monthly wages of March, April, May and June 2020.

“In the coming weeks, personal agreements with the players and the coach will be finalised, as required by the current regulations.

“Should the current season’s matches be rescheduled, the Club will negotiate in good faith with the players and the coach conditional increases of compensation according to the actual resumption and finalisation of official competitions.

“Juventus would like to thank the players and the coach for their commitment at a difficult time for everyone.”

Long-standing defender Giorgio Chiellini led the players’ negotiations amid reports in the Italian media that Ronaldo had agreed to sacrifice €3.8 million of his yearly wage to ease the financial burden on the club while Italy is in lockdown.

The agreement comes the day after leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid took the decision to cut the wages of their staff, including the players, to ease the financial burden on the club.

Atletico joined La Liga rivals Barcelona, who imposed a compulsory wage reduction on their players during the period of lockdown after Spain became the second-most affected country by the coronavirus in Europe behind Italy.

German Bundesliga clubs Borussia Moenchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund have also said their players would forego some of their salary.

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