KEY POINTS

  • Barca have by far the highest pay bill in Europe with an astounding $511m per season
  • THeir highest-paid player, Messi, earns a staggering $1.33m per week
  • There is no certainty on how long will La Liga be suspended 

FC Barcelona have reportedly asked their senior players including Lionel Messi to take a pay cut in order to reduce the club’s wage brackets because of the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The Spanish giants have by far the highest pay bill in Europe with an astounding $511 million per season. While Messi earns a staggering $1.33m per week, Luis Suarez earns $470K, 22-year-old midfielder Frenkie de Jong earns $506K, Antoine Griezmann earns $403K and veteran midfielder Sergio Busquets earns $302K.

The coronavirus pandemic has halted sports across the globe including top-flight soccer leagues such as Spain’s La Liga. Barcelona last played on March 7 when they secured a win narrowly by 1-0 over Real Sociedad and the ongoing 2019-20 season does not look to resume before May. One of the significant consequences here is that Barca are struggling to draw the required income to run the expensive club.

The Catalan club conducted a board meeting last Wednesday where it was decided that the club cut wages of its highest earners. The decision was taken to the senior players, who reportedly reacted to it positively. The news reports have also suggested that while the players have agreed, it cannot be determined how much pay cut will they receive as there is no certainty in regards to how long the soccer tournaments will be suspended.

According to news reports, Barca have debts of $64m, while the club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the postponement of the Champions League return leg with Napoli cost them $6.4m. Barca are also looking to approach UEFA and other top European clubs to establish a joint approach to cost-cutting.

“This crisis has had a negative impact on the football industry and sport in general. The club has to look at all possible scenarios and analyze the situation so as to minimize the economic consequences,” Barcelona recently said in a statement.

It is understood that it is not just Barca but other clubs such as Swiss club Sion, Germany’s Borussia Monchengladbach and England’s Peterborough United have also asked their playing staff to take a pay cut.

Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi are in Japan looking to fire Barcelona to the FIFA Club World Cup title. Photo: Getty Images