Athletic Have No Plans To Reduce Wages Or File For ERTE
The aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic will have a massive financial impact on the global economy and world of sports. Without television revenue or ticket sales, amongst many other things, football clubs will be facing significant repercussions in the months ahead. In light of this reality some clubs have already asked players and employees to lower their wages while others are filing for ERTE to receive governmental assistance.
Although Athletic never could have foreseen the current situation, the Basque giants have prepared well for the future and may very well be in the most secure position of any club in Europe. To begin with, Athletic have an extraordinary fund of €116 million set aside to protect the club in just a time like this. Even more importantly, the club has no debt unlike countless others across the continent.
Of course, Athletic will suffer a loss of revenue like everyone else, but the club’s financial strength cannot be understated. The club has budgeted for €66.6 million in television revenue this season which accounts for roughly half of the €132.74 million total budgeted expenditure, according to a report from DEIA. Considering there is still one third of the campaign left, the Lions would stand to lose approximately €20 million if the season were to be canceled.
For now that doesn’t appear to be the expectation. Both La Liga and the Spanish Football Federation have maintained that they are confident the season will be completed even if it requires playing games well into the summer and behind closed doors. However, it should be noted that at this point there’s really no way to determine if the season will actually be able to resume.
Playing games behind closed doors would also have a substantial financial effect. Aside from regular ticket sales, Athletic have budgeted to receive €24.58 million in Socio fees. With six home games remaining, roughly one third of the campaign, more than €7 million would be in question. Based on the report Athletic could simply refund that portion of money back to Socios or offer a price reduction for next year’s dues.
So far Athletic have no plans to reduce wages or file for ERTE. Players like Iñaki Williams, Yeray, and Yuri Berchiche have all confirmed that they have not been contacted about the possibility, although they all agreed that they would have no problem lowering their salaries if it was needed to help the club. At the moment that likely won’t be necessary.
The current situation is unprecedented and uncertain. Things can easily change over the coming weeks and months, but for now Athletic remains in a position of strength and stability. Considering the way the club has been run, from developing local talent to wisely managing finances, Athletic’s admirable model of football continues to endure.