Real Madrid have become the latest Spanish club to apply pay cuts to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. The players and coaching staff of the football and basketball teams have joined executives in other departments in lowering their salaries by up to 20% in order to ensure that non-sporting are not affected and to help the club. The cuts were “voluntary”, a statement said – in contrast to those at Barcelona, Alavés and Atlético, which used the government’s ERTE scheme to unilaterally impose temporary reductions.
An agreement was announced on Wednesday evening, following discussions with the players. The cuts will range between 10% and 20% for the year, with a statement saying the aim was to avoid more radical measures that “would affect other employees” as well seeking to palliate the effects of the stoppage. La Liga played its last game on 8 March while Spain has been under a state of alarm for three weeks and will continue to be on lockdown until 26 April at the earliest.
On Tuesday, the president of the league, Javier Tebas, outlined three working plans for return of domestic competition, all dependent on the health authorities. The earliest, most optimistic plan sees the sport return at the end of May. Tebas also said that in total Spanish football could stand to lose €1bn (£880m) if the league season is not completed and €300m (£265m) in the event they finish the season behind closed doors.
Madrid’s announcement came the day after the Germany international Toni Kroos had suggested pay cuts were not the most effective measure. “Waiving salary is like an empty donation or to the club,” he told the German radio station SWR. “It should be something for everyone to consider [and] I think it’s better to get the full salary and then do the right thing with it. I don’t think it’s necessary here; what I do with the money I get is a different issue. We must all help where help is needed, and there are many places where it is needed now.
“It also depends how long everything is stopped,” Kroos added. “If, for example, the game returns in May, I’m sure solutions will be found. If we need to stop until the winter, some may not be able to. That would change football as we know it.”