Óscar De Marcos “We Are Privileged And We Can Help In This Delicate Situation”
The decision for Athletic’s first team to reduce wages in light of the current health crisis came as no surprise. For weeks the players publicly shared their willingness to lower their salaries if needed by the club and after a few days of negotiations an agreement was announced on Wednesday evening.
“Our idea was to think about the workers and Socios,” said Óscar De Marcos in an interview with Javier Beltrán of AS. “We wanted to contribute, to cover those expenses, and do more if we could. That was our priority. We know that, on the one hand, we are privileged and therefore we can help in this delicate situation.”
Only the men’s first team and coaches have lowered their wages in a gesture which will protect other employees from having to do the same. “We believe that this is a delicate situation for all clubs, institutions, and for all people,” De Marcos continued. “We have always stood shoulder to shoulder together and will continue to do so.
As one of the team captains De Marcos was part of the negotiations with the Board. “Yes, we were meeting electronically over the past few days,” he explained. “Everyone likes to get together in meetings like this, but this situation doesn’t allow it. We already said from the first moment that we were going to be available to the club and attentive to the needs.”
Negotiations were fairly straightforward given the squad’s readiness to help the club. However, with so many people involved it took time to finalize the agreement. “It wasn’t difficult, but it must be remembered that there are 27 of us in the squad and I don’t know how many on the Board or Directors. It takes time to reach and agreement even if we all see things the same way. It was relatively simple.”
The agreement in place would see the players take a 17% wage reduction if the season doesn’t return or 6% if it does resume but without fans being allowed to attend matches. In addition to protecting other employees, the pay decrease would also help the club reimburse Socios for season tickets if needed.