By Farrokh Hesabi

Can the Iranian clubs ask players to take pay cut?

April 12, 2020 - 18:13

TEHRAN - The Iranian clubs face a crisis regarding the payment of the players' salaries, and the coronavirus pandemic has worsened the situation.

Coronavirus has hit football very hard. The pandemic is wreaking havoc on the financial side of football.

The suspension of sports events and, in particular, football matches has created a lot of uncertainty over whether leagues can finish their season.

This is a global crisis, and all leagues and clubs in the world face similar financial challenges. Most clubs in Europe are asking all staff (including players) to accept a substantial wage reduction.

Players from German soccer giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund agreed to a 20 percent pay cut while their matches are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Real Madrid have become the latest Spanish club to apply pay cuts to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. Earlier, Barcelona football club's players took a 70 percent pay cut and made an extra contribution on top during the enforced La Liga break so that the club's other employees can earn their full salaries during the coronavirus crisis, captain Lionel Messi said.

In England, talks continue between Premier League clubs and the players' union the Professional Footballers' Association over player wage deferrals and cuts, but still, no agreement has been made.

FIFA has been working on recommendations and guidelines to address practical issues brought by the Covid-19 crisis.

The bureau of the FIFA Council on Tuesday endorsed a set of principles agreed upon by a taskforce exploring various issues including "football employment agreements that can no longer be performed".

A statement said: "If parties cannot agree and, as a consequence, cases come to FIFA, the factors to be examined will include the following:

• whether there was a genuine attempt by the club to reach agreement with the players;

• what the economic situation of the club is;

• the proportionality of any adjustment to player contracts;

• the net income position of players after any contract adjustment; and

• whether players have been treated equally or not.

"In this way, FIFA hopes that it will be able to find solutions that are fair and balanced for both sides."

Considering the Iranian football, the coronavirus pandemic has created a big question: How can the Iranian clubs reach an agreement with their players over wage deferral or pay cut?

In the Iran Professional League (IPL), out of 16 teams, only one or two clubs have fulfilled their obligations to pay the players' wages.

Most of the clubs were supposed to pay about 75 percent of their players' salaries; however, they have just pay 50 percent, or even less. So, as the clubs have not fulfilled their financial commitments, they cannot expect the players to agree for salary deduction and help the clubs even though the coronavirus pandemic has worsened the economic situation of their teams.

The three main ways for the clubs to generate revenues are through broadcasting rights, ticket sales, and sponsorships.

Of these ways, the Iranian clubs have practically no income from broadcasting rights and ticket sale, and cannot account for such sources of money.

A lot of clubs are not financially stable, and they face crises and stress at the moment because they are not able to pay the salaries of the current players nor to invest in players in the next transfer market.

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