Wage cut fears: FIFPro calls on clubs to use collective bargaining

By Andrew Warshaw

March 23 – The head of football’s world players union has urged clubs not to unilaterally slash salaries because of the effects of Covid-19 and says collective bargaining agreements are the best way forward.

Last week, with professional and most grassroots football wiped off the map, the president of Swiss club top-flight Sion, Christian Constantin, ended the contracts of nine senior players to save costs while in Scotland, Hearts players have been asked to take a 50% pay cut.

“We oppose and are very concerned by clubs immediately imposing unilateral pay cuts and layoffs because of the impact of the coronavirus,” said FIFPro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann (pictured).

“Any negotiations about the wage bill because of a lack of short-term club revenue should be organised collectively and with all players receiving advice from their union or lawyer.”

Baer-Hoffman says more needed to be done to apply legally enforceable commercial agreements between players and clubs.

“We are advising unions to work towards collective agreements between clubs and players that have the best interest of both parties at heart,” he told Insideworldfootball.

“There is no doubt football faces a financial crisis but let’s not forget that it has considerable resources to mitigate the consequences of a temporary shutdown.”

“We welcome, for example, discussions by FIFA about setting up a global assistance fund and plans by UEFA for a working group to address the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus on European football.

Lucien Valloni, head of the Swiss players union, meanwhile launched a scathing attack on the conduct of Constantin.

“Mr. Constantin does not respect the law, does not respect contracts, does not respect people,” Valloni told a Swiss newspaper. “ It’s incredible, absurd. It’s irresponsible behaviour. Apart from the fact that the club does not want to pay its players, there is no explanation. We know that there are liquidity problems for the clubs. But we have to find an intelligent solution, together, not in this way. Christian Constantin is a millionaire, where is the concern? He’s just interested in his wallet!”

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