Barcelona’s dressing room has been left split by the initiative aimed at reducing player salaries. President Josep Maria Bartomeu has gone down this route in an attempt to mitigate the financial outgoings at the club given the reduction in income caused by the coronavirus pandemic, yet the process has not run smoothly.
Some players have been accused of putting their individual interests before the collective. This was made evident by the news that on Tuesday – right after the club’s Champions League win over Ferencvaros – that Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Frenkie de Jong and Marc-Andre ter Stegen had all renewed their contracts on an individual basis.Some members of the playing squad are frustrated not only with those who have looked after themselves but also at a board who have allowed this to happen.
A letter was signed by most of the squad to reject the plans for pay cuts, but not all players signed it. Curiously, Pique was one of those to sign the letter, before agreeing a contract extension to 2024. Bartomeu’s plan involved reducing player salaries this season, but then stating in their contracts that the board will make up the difference in years to come. Bartomeu won’t have to worry about this, since he’ll be out of his role by next summer anyway, with presidential elections forthcoming – or possibly sooner if he is voted out by the club’s members.
Barcelona’s salary negotiations
All of this comes just before negotiations were set to begin on Wednesday about a collective salary reduction. A player should be there at the table for these discussions, but they’d already said that they won’t attend.
However, there is a split in the group and it seems Bartomeu has adopted the ‘divide and conquer’ tactic. While the club rolled over their Hungarian opposition on Tuesday night, it remains to be seen what impact this dressing room split will have on the club’s fortunes on the pitch in the longer term.