Iker Muniain “If Athletic Needs It We Would Be Willing To Help”
Football is at a standstill. The coronavirus pandemic has brought life to a halt in Spain and football clubs are not immune to the financial impact. Several clubs have already contacted players to request lowering wages by as much as 70% while others have begun the process of filing for ERTE. Athletic, who are in the most financially secure position of any club, will not need to take such extreme measures.
According to a report from Juanma Velasco of Marca, the club hasn’t completely ruled out temporarily lowering wages and are considering a 10-20% decrease to help combat the revenue loss. Ibaigane is said to be hopeful of reaching an agreement with the players are staff quickly to announce the decision in the coming days. To this point, players have publicly stated that they would have no problem with possible pay cuts to help the club.
However, the players have also clarified that they haven’t received any word from the club regarding a possible wage decrease. Captain Iker Muniain was a guest on Fuera de Juego Wednesday night where he was asked about the report. “The club has never given us a proposal of any kind,” answered the 27-year-old. “We are the first ones to be surprised by this news.”
Despite everyone being quarantined at home Muniain says there is regular dialogue between the club and players. The plan has always been to collaborate on any type of decision if needed.
“We maintain constant, fluid, positive, and daily communication with the club. The position adopted by the club and the players is to wait to see how everything evolves and to know the impact of this situation. If at the end of all this Athletic needs it then the squad is ready to help.”
Make no mistake about it the squad are ready to do whatever is required during this unprecedented time. “If Athletic needs it we would be willing to help,” continued Muniain. “We would sit down to talk, make an assessment of what has happened, and we would see what is the best measure to help. Right not it’s not a situation that is real, it’s a hypothesis.”
Apart from being willing to help the club, Muniain also shared that the players and Athletic are doing what they can for the community. However, the captain didn’t want to go into details.
“We know that it’s a very difficult moment so from the club and the locker room we have wanted to help. Our intention has been to do it with the utmost discretion. The important thing is the sick and those who have been affected.”
Of course, the players are eager to resume the season and compete in the Copa del Rey final. Football is greatly missed at the moment though it’s readily understood that there are far more important matters.
“We all want La Liga and the season to resume. That will mean that everything is evolving favorably, but that’s not the main thing. The main thing is what is happening right now. There are several possible dates for the Cup final that, like La Liga, are up in the air. We would all be in favor of playing it with open doors, with the fans, but complete safety is important.”
Athletic are the most financially stable club in the country and perhaps in all of Europe. At the moment the Basques have a €116 million extraordinary fund to protect the club’s financial future. The health of the public is undoubtedly the only priority at the moment, but once football is allowed to resume the Lions will be dreaming again of lifting the Copa del Rey title.