Lionel Messi, Barcelona players take pay cut to help club employees - Sports Illustrated

Barcelona Players to Take 70% Pay Cut to Help Support Club Employees During Coronavirus Pandemic

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Barcelona players will take a 70% pay cut to help financially support non-sporting staff during the coronavirus pandemic, the club announced Monday.

"In the case of the football first team, the reduction will be over 70% of that originally agreed with the club," FC Barcelona said in a statement. "This additional contribution by the team, together with the contribution that the club itself shall make, will guarantee 100% of the salaries of all non-sporting staff at the club, which will be submitted for ERTE (temporary redundancy) this week.

"The club wishes to express its gratitude to all of the professional athletes for their implication in such an exceptional situation that has been caused by this health crisis."

The pay reduction will also affect the club's other professional teams, including its basketball squad.

Before the club released its statement, Lionel Messi announced the pay cut on Instagram. He added players would make additional contributions to ensure club employees would continue to collect 100% of their pay during the coronavirus pandemic.

In his statement, Messi also stated he was surprised by pressure within the club to take the pay cut and said the players were planning to take action all along.

"We want to clarify that our desire has always been for a reduction to be applied to our salaries because we understand that this is an exceptional situation and we are the first that have ALWAYS helped the club with what they have asked," Messi said. "Many times we have even done things on our own accord, at moments when we felt it necessary or important."

Barca's board of directors and the players began negotiating a deal last week. The club, which is owned by its members, fears the sports shutdown could cause it to take a severe hit financially.

La Liga is among the many sports leagues around the globe suspended indefinitely amid the pandemic. Spain imposed a nationwide lockdown two weeks ago as its number of coronavirus cases continued to rise. The country currently 85,195 confirmed cases, the third-most in the world. There are more than 741,000 confirmed cases of the virus globally across at least 177 countries.