Josep Bartomeu: Captains were all for salary reduction

Josep Bartomeu during the second leg of Barcelona's UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final in 2018 / ALEX CAPARROS/GETTY IMAGES EUROPE
Josep Bartomeu during the second leg of Barcelona’s UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-final in 2018 / ALEX CAPARROS/GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has opened up about the recent salary reduction, explaining that the club’s captains were for the idea from the get-go.

Tuesday evening, an exclusive interview between Mundo Deportivo and FC Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu was published. In said interview, the president opened up about the players’ salary reduction and the talk that preceded it internally, as well as giving an update on other situations within the club.

Bartomeu began by talking about the salary reduction, stating he was happy with how the agreement turned out.

“Of course [I am, and was happy] from the first moment onwards. I wanted it [the salary reduction] to be something that was agreed upon and not imposed, though I could do so [impose the decision] by law. We wanted to reach an agreement because it is the best to do for Barca, and because they [the players] demonstrate their commitment. It was achieved like I wanted it to, and was not imposed [on the players]. We preferred to wait so we could discuss it with them and so it was not, in any way, imposed on them. There has been a preposition from day 1, from the first minute onwards,” Bartomeu told Mundo Deportivo.

The club president then went on to reveal that the captains were first spoken to on Thursday, March 20.

“We had a video conference call with Messi, Busquets, Piqué and Sergi Roberto, and they said that we had to reduce the fixed salary, not the variable salary, during the State of Emergency and, from minute one, they were for the idea. The final agreement took ten days to reach, but since day one they said ‘yes’ [to the proposition]. If there had not been [a liking of the idea from the players] I would have looked towards obtaining an ERTE. But, now, there is no ERTO but, instead, a private agreement with them [the players],” the club president explained.

Bartomeu, later in the interview, went on to explain why the club reached a private agreement with the club’s basketball team while using ERTE with the remaining teams and employees in the club.

“We have an agreement with everyone, but we made an ERTE with the other teams because the wages are lower than those in football and basket, and having some unemployment will help them. I would like to extend my thanks to the technicians and the professional teams’ staff members for the enormous effort they’re putting in, in lowering this [wage bill] by 70%,” he said.

“In round figures, a month is about 14 million euros in net salary for the first team, with it being around 2 million euros for the other teams, as it’s only the fixed salary [that is changed], not the variable [salary]. In total, the savings will be 16 million euros per month. If the State of Emergency lasts a month, it will mean that a reduction of 5.75% of the annual salary [will take place]. If it lasts 45 days, it [the reduction] will be 8.6%, and if it lasts two months, which we do not think it will, [the reduction will be] 11.5%. The agreement is a flexible one, depending on the number of days [in which the state of emergency still is in effect],” the president continued.

As previously mentioned, the agreement took around ten days to be reached, and Bartomeu addressed the timeframe, saying the idea was accepted by the captains, but that talking with the team is difficult with the physical barriers enforced by the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the end, they accepted what we proposed the first day [of negotiating]. There are many factors involved, and the captains had to talk to the rest of the players in the team. Doing so without seeing each other is not easy,” Bartomeu told the Spanish newspaper.

The pay cut, which happened as a result of the club missing out on revenue from many of the club’s channels due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be in effect until the outbreak has been minimized and the world slowly goes back to its normal state.