Juve players, coach agree to pay cut

Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain and manager Maurizio Sarri, seen celebrating their last win, will take a pay cut as the Italian champions attempt to tide over the financial pressure they face with the lack of competitive matches.
Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain and manager Maurizio Sarri, seen celebrating their last win, will take a pay cut as the Italian champions attempt to tide over the financial pressure they face with the lack of competitive matches.PHOTO: REUTERS

TURIN • Juventus players and coach Maurizio Sarri have reached an agreement over a wage reduction that will save the Italian champions €90 million (S$143 million), the Serie A club announced on Saturday night.

The effective one-third cut to the players' annual salaries means a huge drop in wages for a squad headed by their marquee player, Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portugal forward is the best-paid footballer in Italy and is reported to earn €31 million a year, and the four-month pay cut will alleviate the financial pressure that Serie A's most successful club (35 Scudettos) is facing as it deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

The agreement comes at a time when many clubs around Europe have had to cut wage bills because of the dramatic impact of the domestic and European campaigns being suspended due to the spread of Covid-19.

The Scudetto has been suspended since March 9 with 12 match days left to play.

"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.

"Should the current season's matches be rescheduled, the club will negotiate, in good faith with the players and coach, conditional increases of compensation according to the actual resumption and finalisation of competitions. Juventus would like to thank the players and coach for their commitment at a difficult time for everyone."

Captain Giorgio Chiellini, who has been at the club since 2005, led the players' negotiations and discussions were said to be amiable, as the region of Piedmont, of which the capital is Turin, is one of the worst-hit areas in Italy.

The players themselves have not been spared, with the trio of Paulo Dybala, Daniele Rugani and Blaise Matuidi all infected by Covid-19, which has caused over 10,000 deaths in the country - more than any other nation worldwide.

The agreement comes the day after La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid took the decision to cut the wages of their staff, including the players, to ease their financial burdens.

They joined Spanish league rivals Barcelona, who imposed a compulsory wage reduction on their players as long as the country remains under lockdown.

German Bundesliga clubs Borussia Monchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund as well as champions Bayern Munich have also said their players will temporarily forgo some of their salaries.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2020, with the headline 'Juve players, coach agree to pay cut'. Print Edition | Subscribe