Barça says goodbye to the Champions League, to 21 million, and Piqué and Busquets say goodbye to premiums

BarcelonaThe math says that Barça still have options to qualify for the Champions League round of 16, but common sense suggests that the team will not be able to make the cut and that everything will be over in a fortnight. A premature goodbye that will mean a blow at all levels. Beyond the state of mind of the club, the dressing room and the fans, playing the Europa League again for the second year in a row will mean that the entity will stop earning around 21 million euros, which will also affect the players pocket In premiums alone, they will stop charging approximately 9 million.

These performance bonuses, however, have the hours counted at the Camp Nou. With Mateu Alemany, the head of football since Laporta returned to the presidency, the contractual policy has changed. If until now it was usual to get paid as Barça qualified to play in the Champions League and then they got money as the round progressed, the club has changed the model and only gets paid more depending on two parameters: the personal performance and titles. “We are Barça, it’s not worth going around here. The goal is to win championships, and prizes can only be won when that happens”, argued the executive last Sunday at the assembly of compromisers, where he also defended the bonuses depending on the individual and specific work of each player. “No matter how young a footballer is, he has the right to a high salary if he deserves it. It can’t be that someone who pays 10 only pays for 1, and someone who pays 1 pays for 10.”

A new paradigm that has already been applied to renewals and new signings (Dembélé, Araujo, Lewandowski, Raphinha, Kounde…) but which remains valid in legacy contracts such as those of Piqué, Jordi Alba, Busquets, De Jong or Ter Stegen, to name a few examples.

The salary policy had been established at Barça in 2003

The new salary policy represents a revolution, a change to a system that had been implemented in 2003, the year Laporta won the elections for the first time. Ferran Soriano, then the club’s economic vice-president, already established the individual and collective meritocracy. Raül Sanllehí, director of football from 2006 to 2017, perfected this system, which had been used until now at Barça. And not only in the Blaugrana team; it was more and more widespread in the big clubs. In fact, it was also used to negotiate the contracts of the new signings. They were guaranteed a base salary and, with extra bonuses, they could double it.

“But the situation perverted and lost the initial spirit”, say from the sports area: “It had reached a point where the bonuses were guaranteed”. Mateu Alemany considers that a player cannot have an extra prize to qualify to play in the next edition of the Champions League, a fact that “is taken for granted at Barça”. There were also clauses requiring a minimum number of matches to be played, but only those in which the footballer was available (not injured) counted. Mateu already tried to remove this clause from the captains last year, but it didn’t work.

Changing this model, apart from promoting meritocracy, also involves adjusting to the fair play of the League. And it is that the employer, in its famous salary limit, interprets as fixed those variables that are easy to achieve – “If Barça has always qualified for the Champions League, an extra bonus to return to qualifying cannot be considered an extra, but a guaranteed income”, argue the League. “Therefore, it does not generate any profit for the club”, they conclude from the Camp Nou.

Barça could recover 14.9 million if they win the Europa League

Whether with old contracts or with new contracts, Barça is practically doomed to play in the Europa League from February. And, being in the second European club competition, it will also let slip a very large sum of money. At the outset, the 21 million that had been budgeted, but that is far from the 100 that could have been pocketed in the case of reaching the Champions League final and winning it. In the Europa League, at full stretch, he can aspire to 14.9 million in income if he reaches the final in Budapest and wins it. A very small figure, in comparison, although it would be very welcome in the coffers of a club that, despite activating “levers”, is still very fair on money.



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