Tuesday, June 2, 2020

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Coronavirus: Ligue 1 seeks agreement on lower player wages

The French Championship has still not agreed to lower wages. This Monday, the so-called “social dialogue” working group met again on the phone but discussions could not be concluded, while French football is affected by the epidemic of coronavirus. The negotiators – Philippe Piat (president of the players’ union, the UNFP), Jean-Pierre Caillot (Reims), Francis Graille (Auxerre), Jean-Pierre Rivère (Nice) and Nicolas Holveck (Rennes) – hope to succeed in hear by the weekend. A similar approach is being led by the coaching union (UNECATEF) to achieve a drop as well.

In France, the subject is not as controversial as in England. This Monday, Liverpool backtracked after announcing its intention to place part of its non-playing staff on partial unemployment, paid by the government. The outcry was immense. No waves here but no one seems in a hurry to reach an arrangement.

No voice emerges to take a clear position at a time when Italy on Monday and Germany (almost all of the clubs) have already adopted a common rule or club by club. In Spain, even if there is discord between the players’ unions and the Spanish League, the captains of the 20 clubs held a meeting last Friday. In France, we are not there yet.

Such a gesture would serve as an example

Our country also has its specificities. Football receives state aid. To endorse this decrease in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 salaries, a legislative framework will be required for the proposal adopted by the social dialogue working group set up by the Professional Football League. This concern to reach a “clean” document delays the talks but “they are progressing well” according to a source close to the file.

At a meeting last week, Roxana Maracineanu, the Minister of Sports, asked the unions of players and coaches, UNFP and UNECATEF, an effort of solidarity as she wants from each actor in the professional sports chain. She insisted that athletes and coaches are at the start of this chain.

In short, such a gesture on the part of the Neymar, Mbappé, Payet or Depay on the one hand, of the coaches Tuchel, Garcia or Villas-Boas on the other, would in some way have the value of an example at a time when all the Sectors of activity of the French economy seem to be making efforts, with a view to recovery after the pandemic. For the moment, no shoe size in France, with the substantial media surface and the undeniable aura, has appeared to encourage his peers to make this effort.

A decrease calculated according to the salary grid

In detail, the last discussions focused on deferred payment on a percentage of wages or on partial unemployment (70% of gross). The reduction requested from players would be calculated according to their salary grid, according to L’Équipe. Below 10,000 euros monthly salary, the player retains all of his remuneration. Between 10,000 and 20,000 euros, the drop would be 20%, between 20,000 and 50,000 euros, 30%, between 50,000 and 100,000 euros, 40%, and beyond 100,000 euros, 50 %.

This money would be cut immediately before being returned retroactively when competitions restart. But we must also consider the worst, such as the final end of the French Championship. In Italy, the agreement relates to two types of decline and it is stronger if Serie A stops definitively, a hypothesis not to be excluded in the European country most affected by the Covid-19.

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