BERLIN • Footballers at Germany's top teams, including Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, have agreed to take pay cuts to help clubs survive the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, media reports said on Tuesday.
Newspaper Bild said players and officials at Bayern, who topped the German top flight when the season was halted on March 13, have accepted a 20 per cent cut.
The Bavarian giants have a massive wage bill which reached €336 million (S$525.5 million) last year, almost half of club turnover.
Like all top European leagues, the Bundesliga is losing income from broadcasting, sponsorships and ticket sales during the Covid-19 crisis, with matches suspended until at least next Thursday.
According to accounting firm KPMG, the league could lose up to €750 million if the season cannot be completed.
Players at Borussia Monchengladbach were the first in the league to propose a pay reduction, followed by Werder Bremen, Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund while Bayer Leverkusen players are in talks over cuts with the management.
Second-placed Dortmund said their squad members had taken a salary reduction to show solidarity with the club's 850 employees. Coach Lucien Favre and club directors have also made a personal offer to take a pay cut.
Bayern players Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich also said last Friday that they had launched a programme to help fight the virus and had put in the first €1 million.
"Germany is a at a standstill," the 25-year-olds wrote on their platform, wekickcorona.com.
"As professional footballers we lead a healthy and privileged life. In these difficult times, we feel it is our duty to take responsibility."
They are appealing for donations to feed a fund, which can be called upon by charitable or medical institutions involved in the fight against the pandemic.
Pay reduction Bayern Munich players and officials have accepted.
The German Football League (DFL), which runs the country's top two divisions, said it will propose to its 36 clubs at a meeting next Tuesday that the suspension be extended to late April.
It repeated its aim to finish the campaigns before June 30 and added: "The DFL is working intensively on concepts to play games at a given time - due to the situation - even without spectators and with a minimal use of workers in the areas of sport, general organisation and the media."
The Bundesliga can boast of an average attendance of 43,300 this season, with Dortmund the best-supported club on 81,154 ahead of Bayern's 75,000. Monchengladbach played Cologne behind closed doors on March 11 and estimated they lost about €2 million in revenue by playing without fans.
Television rights is the biggest source of income for top-flight clubs and playing games in an empty stadium but live on TV would lower the financial impact.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS