When connecting the coronavirus pandemic and economics, the impact on sports isn’t often high on the list of priorities. Countries around the world will have their hands full in the coming months—and maybe years—making sure that the crisis doesn’t end up destroying the lives of working people.
But sports will be affected by the shutdowns initiated by the virus. Calcio doesn’t have a great track record in terms of financial stability over the last decade. High-profile clubs like Parma, Siena, and Palermo have gone under, forced to rise as a phoenix team in the amateur leagues, and those are just the tip of the iceberg. At the sports level, it’s worth wondering what this time without games—and the revenue that comes with them, both at the gate and via TV contracts—will do to the soccer world in Italy and Europe at large.
On Friday, FIGC chief Gabriele Gravina told ANSA that the federation would have a plan in regard to how players’ wages would be handled during the shutdown by the beginning of the week. Juventus, characteristically, have been a step ahead of the rest of the league, and released a statement on Saturday that they have reached an agreement with the first team and coach Maurizio Sarri in regard to salaries for the remainder of the season.
Here’s the statement in full:
Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that, due to the current global health emergency is preventing the performance of the sporting activity, it has reached an understanding with the players and the coach of the First Team regarding their compensation for the residual portion of the current sport season.
The understanding provides for the reduction of the compensation for an amount equal to the monthly payments of March, April, May and June 2020. In the coming weeks, personal agreements with the players and the coach will be finalised, as required by the current regulations.
The economic and financial effects of the understanding reached are positive for about EUR 90 million for the 2019/2020 financial year.
Should the current season’s matches be rescheduled, the Club will negotiate in good faith with the players and the coach conditional increases of compensations according to the actual resumption and finalisation of official competitions.
Juventus would like to thank the players and the coach for their commitment at a difficult time for everyone.
In short, Juve’s players have agreed to forego their salary for the duration of the shutdown, which will save the club about €90 million. Should the season be restarted in some form, the club will renegotiate the deal to compensate them for the games that do get played.
Gravina has adamantly held the line that he intends to restart the season, despite growing sentiment that cancelling the remainder of the season may be necessary. It’s worth wondering whether this agreement, which covers the entire rest of the season, is a sign that the opinion of the clubs is indeed moving toward cancelling the rest of the year and starting fresh in 2020-21 is becoming the preferred way forward by the clubs.
As always, there will be more in this space as more news arrives. In the meantime, stay home and stay safe.