Aitor Elizegi “We Have Not Talked About Salary Cuts With The Players”
In light of the football stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic Athletic are in a much better position than most other clubs. The Basques have an extraordinary fund of €116 million, along with no debt, and should be able to navigate the financial impact that has already begun. However, Athletic still stands to lose a large amount of revenue and could take measures to further protect the club.
La Liga have shared reports with each club which project the expected financial loss based on whether or not the season resumes and if games will need to be played behind closed doors. In addition, the league has also offered recommendations on how clubs can lower wages in order to combat dramatic drop in revenue.
Although Athletic have not requested that players reduce their wages at this time, the club has shared possible ideas if the need arises. “We have maintained transparency with the club employees and players during this extraordinary situation,” president Aitor Elizegi told EFE. “We regularly inform them of the scenarios that are being considered such as the season returning and not returning or playing the remaining games with or without fans.”
Elizegi made it clear that it’s far too early to make any firm decision in regards to possible wage reductions. The club would prefer to wait until the league situation is clarified before moving forward.
“Things must be done without drawing conclusions. We will have to wait to know the impact, but we hope that it will be a small as possible. No, we have not talked about salary cuts or decreases with the players or employees. This directive always looks at the medium term which is a very important way of doing things.”
Of course, the president reiterated the club’s desire to play out the rest of the season with fans in attendance. Unfortunately, it’s still too soon to know if that will be possible.
“I’m in favor of finishing all competitions this season, although let me be clear that health is the most important thing. We want to play matches with the fans because without them football would be nothing. Athletic would be nothing. It’s necessary to do things calmly.”
In the end, Elizegi says that the league is right to be working on possible ways to resume the season. “Football needs formulas and plans to allow for a gradual return,” he mentioned. “The good thing is that we know the Cup final has to be played before the start of the next European season because there is a European place at stake.” Aside from La Liga, Athletic still dream of lifting the Copa del Rey title.