Why would Barcelona or Arsenal need to cut players wages?

All Football Staff Should Be Paid? by Dan Smith

As we continue to wonder how long this lockdown will continue and how it will affect football, clubs are starting to ask their players to take wage cuts so other staff can be paid.

Apparently, Barcelona have convinced Messi and friends to take a 70 per cent reduction in salary.
It’s very noble of anyone to volunteer to do this, so don’t read this as me attacking people that are helping cover the cost of the less fortunate, I’m more asking why are Barca putting their talent in a position where they have to make such a gesture?

I’m proud to say that from day one Arsenal went public with the news that they will carry on paying all their matchday and non-matchday casual workers while this virus keeps people in isolation.

Yes, like the rest of the Premiership they will take a financial hit but it’s disrespectful to the rest of the world to make out they might struggle.

I live in a tiny village where local companies have only just recovered from the floods in the UK. With this so soon afterwards, the average owner could be in serious danger of closing down their business.

So, no I don’t feel sorry for the Spanish Champions, the richest side in the universe by the way, who just recorded a record revenue of 741.1 million. Maybe that won’t be as big next year. Maybe in the summer they will have to resist forking out 80 million on one player. Yet when the game resumes and it will, clubs will go back to TV contracts, merchandise and match day revenue worth millions. Your corner shop, hairdressers, bars and cafes have no such guarantees.

The likes of the Arsenal and Man United accept they will lose income by having outgoings without the usual figures coming in. Yet they are not immune to anyone else, people will suffer in the next few months, some more than others.

Yet like the owner of Costa wouldn’t expect his line managers to give their money to their staff, it would be crazy of Stan Kroenke to ask Ozil to give up thousands while he sits on billions. If they really needed to account for their payroll, sell a squad player for 5 million, that will more then cover the cost of Maggie the tea lady and Dave the steward.

If those at the Nou Camp get their way they would save Barcelona approx. 21 million a month, that’s 6 million if you just considered their 3 highest paid stars.

Now I haven’t got contracts in front of me, but something tells me you don’t need 21 million sums to cover the cost of your groundsmen or those who work in the club shop.

So, here’s a question, where does the change from 21 million go? Will they use this as an opportunity to lower match tickets? Maybe not charge as much for shirts? With all the money the Spaniards will save, it will go back into their bank accounts.

It’s not any of the Catalan’s fault that their employers are not paying the staff, but there are better gestures then simply saving the richest club on the planet a few euros.

Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs for example are letting NHS workers stay in their hotels for free. Toby Alderweireld is giving out tablets out of his own pocket so families can contact each other. These are the deeds that need celebrating.

Trust me in a year’s time your Arsenals and your Barcelonas will be okay. The family run bakery around the corner won’t be. Worse case though Barca, you could always sell Messi.

That will fund you for this ‘hard time’ you’re having at the moment…

Be kind in the comments

Dan Smith


  1. I’m really not sure of the point you are trying to make.In straight financial terms every professional Club will be looking to reduce costs to avert a cash flow crisis and to this end Barca are no different to Accrington Stanley.The players at Barca are to be applauded for agreeing to to take a temporary wage cut, but with their serious wealth the likes of Messi will hardly feel the pinch unlike the vast majority of their fans in an area which is being hit hard by the Virus.As far as I am aware Arsenal players have not been requested to follow in the steps of the Barca squad ,but if they did , they would gain my respect and that of all their fans Worldwide.Of course by doing so they would probably need the “authority ” of their agents upon whom they appear to depend when it comes to financial matters.Surely not even the”leeches” of our game would object to such action at a time when the entire Planet is facing financial meltdown?

  2. The answer to your question is quite simple really. The clubs are in a position, where they are on the brink of loosing hundreds of millions if not billions, so of course they have to cut costs. And the biggest post of expenditure, they have, is salaries to players.
    I agree with offering much more sympathy to “the bakery around the corner”, and exactly therein lies another another potential “time bomb” for football clubs. Because sponsors may decide to pull the plug on sponsoring “wealthy sports”, when the rest of society is suffering in many ways.
    You will see many more pay-cuts, unless the virus by some miracle is stopped quickly.

  3. I agree, this shouldn’t come down to the players although a team donation to front line staff would be a great gesture. Arsenal more than most clubs have a Billionaire Owner that could easily foot the bill and should foot it. He rules Arsenal in the good times, he needs and must foot the bill in the bad. He runs the club as a business as we all know.
    Why should any employee take the hit (all employees not just players) when you have a billionaire owner, to me it beggars belief. Rich business men need to feel their losses not like when most were protected in 2008.

  4. A s Grandad said above, what exactly IS the point you are making DAN? You appear to be saying that top clubs have no need to reduce players salaries and use the rightful need to keep paying helpers and match day folk their normal salaries which can be afforded. THAT “helpers” comment I will agree with but NOT your apparent argument that players wages will not adversely affect club finances. You are comparing ordinary folk with very rich folk and concluding that ONLY the ordinary folk will take huge losses. That is clearly not correct. LET ME EXPAIN WHY!

    For every grotesquely disgusting salary paid to filthy rich players, a great number of normal and ordinary folk need to pay to watch or support their heroes; either by attending or buying merchandise or tv sports subs. Those normal folk are going to feel the pinch with the whole world economy shot to pieces for years to come and money to spend on watching football, and TV Sports p[ackages too, at CURRENT ticket prices will be severely limited. You appear not to have thought about the major effect that will have upon current rich players salaries.

    All clubs, major and minor, will feel a huge financial pressure to reduce costs and many smaller clubs will go under . That is certain, though obviously a tragedy for their fans and for fans everywhere, in the wider sense. Larger clubs will HAVE to reduce player wage costs sunstantially or suffer huge consequences. The saving grace is that players will ultimately have no serious option other than to accept this, as it will be world wide and would otherwise mean them becoming unemployed and earning nothing as a player. They will NEVER put themselves and their families in that parlous situation.

    As other sensible and wise comments above have also told you, your “In a years time the Arsenals and Barca of this world will be okay” comment will ONLY be true, if, as they will be forced to by world events, the players en masse accept a huge wage reduction for the foreseeable future. And THAT, my somewhat financially naive friend, is what WILL happen!

    1. Jon,
      I totally agree with your comments. When any form of normality returns to the ordinary man and woman in the street in the months ahead I can’t imagine that there will be an appetite for the grotesque wages to which you refer being acceptable anymore.
      I struggle to justify the ticket price, plus train journey from Leicestershire, and drinks and food in the ground regularly at all. How long will it take Joe Bloggs and family to recover from this viral onslaught? Mortgage holidays to pay back, loss of earnings, etc etc will affect everyone, bar a miniscule few.

      Football has been heading into an abyss for somewhile. Transfers, salaries, agents fees etc have sucked out a lot of what being a football supporter meant to me. It was camaraderie, singing on the terraces and good humour too.
      I did actually support whichever English team was in Europe back in the day as they were the only ones representing our nation. With the advent of the CL it became dog eat dog

      1. Sue P, a good though quite sadly nostagic read in your post and we can all identify so well with those happier supporting days. To my mind and I feel that most would agree, the fun started fading when the huge, even obscene wages became commonplace. I am not, these days, anOzil fan but just stop and think of how many nurses , doctors, porters an NHS heroes salary even one weeks wage of his could cover. And then look at what he contributes, by comparison to them, to society.

        However you look at it, it’s outrageous and the new dawning of widespread reality about what IS and what is NOT important will be become the norm when this is finally over and thank goodness for that I say. Some say do not blame OZIL, but blame the club for offering him that amount. But he or his agent made it clear that was what he wanted andwas how he financially valued himself just a couple of years ago.
        I may, though I really do not think so, think differently than some but no one made him ask for that obscene sum and so he – and all othersin that same wage league too -ARE directly to blame,IMO. It is a cop out to try putting it all on the club, though they share the blame, as do we all for tolerating it, instead of kicking up an almighty stink at the stench of these greedy players and leech agents.

        We are all to blame, but the good news is that many, even most fans, will not and and even cannot afford to any longer condone that sort of sheer greed. MANY OF US HAVE BEEN DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY CORONA DEATHS AND NOT MANY OF THOSE WILL TOLERATE THIS GRASPING GREED ANY MORE. “The times they are a changing,” as a famous singer sang a few decades ago. And not before time !

  5. In situations such as all clubs find themselves in now, if the players want to be magnanimous with their wealth then that should be encouraged. They can’t do anything in person but supporting their communities financially is a great way help those less fortunate in these very difficult times.

    It is a dilemma though for clubs to rob Peter of his lucrative contract in order to pay the turnstile operator during this turmoil and clubs such as Barca should be in a position to pay everyone on the payroll and that means the likes of Messi not earning so much in the first place so that the club is on a sure financial footing to support everyone.

    I hope when all this is over, that the world of football has a really good look at itself.

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