OL’s Aulas calls on players to share the pain with 25% pay cut, offset by a share deal

February 18 – Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas has asked his players to take a pay cut in a bid to mitigate the financial fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and loss of Ligue 1 TV rights revenue. 

During a news conference, Aulas disclosed the club’s difficult economic situation and demanded players take a pay cut. In the past six months, Lyon recorded an operating loss of €43.4 million (compared to a profit of €35.5 million in the same 2019/2020 period). Aulas proposed a temporary salary reduction of 25% for the players who earn above €50,000 per month.

He said: “Above the bar of €50,000, the reduction that we propose is significant, of the order of 25%.  Therefore the largest salaries would be the most impacted, in absolute value.”

But he was also quick to stress that the club is offering the players compensation in the form of club shares. Aulas explained: “I imagine that they could benefit from a good investment in the event of a rebound. We are in any case satisfied with the players listening to our proposal and we hope to see a solution which would allow us to optimize our payroll.”

Previously, RC Lens and Stade Reims were the first Ligue 1 clubs to introduce salary reductions and downsize operations for the remainder of the season.

This week OL Groupe announced first half 2020/21 revenue of €123.3 million, €73.9 million down on the comparable period in 2019/20, this was despite the men’s team reaching the quarter finals of the Champions League and the club still generating €53.3 million from player sales in the January window, the sale of Bertrand Traore to Aston Villa for €15.9 million being the highest sale.

The club was hit hardest by the loss of domestic TV revenue, describes as an “opportunity loss at around €17.7 million for the first six months of the year”, as well as a €16.2 million impact on ticketing revenue.

Aulas and OL protested the abrupt ending of the Ligue 1 season in 2019/20 when the pandemic hit, saying that it was against the sporting integrity of the competition and unfairly prevented the club’s opportunity of qualifying for this season’s Champions League and its revenues.

“The opportunity loss stemming from the club’s absence from the Champions League this season is significant (€57.6 million in H1 2019/20),” said the club in its financial statement.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1614342174labto1614342174ofdlr1614342174owedi1614342174sni@o1614342174fni1614342174. Additional reporting by moc.l1614342174labto1614342174ofdlr1614342174owedi1614342174sni@n1614342174osloh1614342174cin.l1614342174uap1614342174