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Barca boss stands with players in salary pay cut issue

Madrid, March 31 (IANS) FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has tried to calm troubled waters at the club over the 70 percent reduction in pay that the club’s first team squad announced they would accept for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

Leo Messi on Monday explained on his Instagram page that the first team squad had not only agreed to reduce their salaries by 70 percent, but that the players would also cover the wages of all of the other employees at the club, reports Xinhua news agency.

However, Messi also posted a rebuke of the club’s handling of the situation after stories saying the squad were unwilling to accept a pay cut had previously appeared in the press.

“A lot has been written and said about the football first team at Barcelona, when it comes to the players’ salaries during this state of alarm,” said the statement, which added, “First of all, we would like to clarify that we have always been willing to accept a wage cut, because we understand perfectly that this is an exceptional situation and we are always the first to help the club when we have been asked to.

“For that reason, we cannot help but be surprised by the fact that from within the club there are those trying to put us under the microscope or apply pressure for us to do something that we have always been clear that we would do.

“If an agreement has taken a few days to be reached it is simply because we were seeking a formula to help the club and also to help its employees in these very difficult times,” explained Messi.

Bartomeu tried to take weight off the statement commenting that: “Messi told me from day one that this reduction had to be made. This proposal came from the captains. It is a gesture that demonstrates their commitment to the club,” he said.

“Perhaps the players have been frustrated by things said by people inside and outside the club, who do not have all the information,” commented the Barca president.

There is still no date set for the return of football in Spain.

–IANS

dm/bbh

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