Lionel Messi agrees to 70% pay cut, will donate to club workers amid coronavirus pandemic
Soccer star Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates agreed to a 70% pay cut amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Messi will also make an undisclosed financial contribution so that no Barcelona workers will have their wages docked with soccer suspended in the country because of Spain's state of emergency — in place since March 12. Spain has had more than 85,000 COVID-19 positive cases and 7,000 deaths since the outbreak.
Messi said in a statement posted to social media Sunday, speaking on behalf of Barcelona's first-team players, that previous reports about team members rejecting the club's proposal for salary cuts were misconstrued. According to ESPN, an agreement has been reached between the players and the club, affecting the men's first team and all professional teams — including basketball.
"We want to clarify that our desire has always been for a reduction to be applied to our salaries because we understand that this is an exceptional situation and we are the first that have ALWAYS helped the club with what they have asked of us," the statement by Messi read.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Eibar at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday Feb. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort) (Photo: The Associated Press)
"Many times we have even done things on our own accord, at moments when we felt it necessary or important to do so. For that reason, it surprises us that from inside the club there would be people that want to put us under a magnifying glass or try to pressure us into something that we were always clear we wanted to do. In fact, if the agreement has dragged on, it's because we were looking for a formula to help the club and its workers in these difficult times.
"For our part, the moment has arrived to announce that, aside from the 70% wage cut during the State of Emergency, we are going to also make contributions so that all the club's employees can earn 100% of their salaries for as long as this situation lasts."
Barcelona is suffering a huge financial crisis as a result of the pandemic, losing game revenue and revenue generated from its stadium's museum.
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