Barcelona players agree to wage deferral that could save club €172m

Barcelona players have agreed to defer a significant amount of their wages this season to save the club up to €172 million.

Barca have been hit especially hard financially by the coronavirus pandemic and have seen their salary cap reduced by almost €300m in the 2020-21 campaign.

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Last season, La Liga set the Blaugrana's spending limit for wages at €671m, but this season they have been capped at €382.7m.

Therefore, Barca have been forced to find ways to reduce costs. That started with letting big earners -- such as Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal -- leave in the summer.

However, it has also required the players still at the club to take a hit on their salaries and bonuses this season.

"The club's and the players' representatives have reached an agreement in principle that allows an adjustment to salaries for the current season for an amount of €122m fixed remuneration," Barca said in a statement on Friday.

"Added to that is the deferral for up to three years of variable remuneration from this season, budgeted at an approximate figure of €50m.

"The agreement is pending ratification in the coming days. Once ratified, it represents a huge step forward as the club attempts to turn around the current financial situation."

The agreement is player-specific and sources have told ESPN most players will be remunerated in the coming seasons -- how many seasons will depend on each players' contract length -- and will receive interest of around 3% on the amount they have agreed to defer.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Frenkie de Jong, Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet had already agreed to wage deferrals this season as part of the new contracts they signed in October.

It's the second time this year Barca have asked their players to either accept a wage cut or a wage deferral.

In March, when coronavirus first disrupted football around the world, the players agreed to give up 70% of their wages for as long as La Liga was halted.

Since the pandemic began, revenues have fallen dramatically at Barca. The club announced losses of €97m for the 2019-20 season in October and confirmed that their total debt has doubled to €488m.

The latest accounts revealed a total income of €855m, down over €200m on the €1.059bn they predicted they would have brought in without the coronavirus outbreak. That would have led to profits of around €30m.

Among other losses, Barca explained that they lost €47m in matchday revenue, €35m in sales at the club shops and €18m in ticketing from the museum based at Camp Nou.