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Atletico Madrid announce wage cuts and temporary redundancy for FIVE HUNDRED players and staff



Madrid have announced a package of wage cuts and temporary redundancies that will affect as many as 500 employees including players.


If Barcelona are the club most struggling with the financial consequences of the coronavirus because of their huge over-spend, Atletico Madrid are not far behind them. 


Atletico made a huge investment last summer when they spent £112million on then 19-year-old Joao Felix and it stretched the club to the extent that, when injuries to Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata meant they needed a forward in January, they were unable to buy one.


Now the club are the second Spanish giant behind Barcelona, late on Thursday, to announce an 'ERTE' - the temporary laying-off of staff for a period of time in exceptional circumstances.


Barcelona players will see their wages slashed despite the board and squad having yet to reach an agreement as tensions rumble on at the Catalan club. 


Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil said wage cuts were necessary to guarantee the 'survival of the club' with the staff being paid despite the season being suspended indefinitely, which has impacted revenues of clubs across Europe.


Gil said the club made a 'difficult decision' to request for a Temporary Employment Regulation File (ERTE) which allows them to cut wages when circumstances are beyond their control.


'We are working to minimize the impact of the measure and limit it to what is strictly essential, so that when the competition resumes, everything will work as it has been until now,' he said in a statement.


'Our sponsors and collaborating companies are suffering like us and the rest of society from the terrible impact of this health and economic crisis. I want to thank you for your commitment in these hard times and for your help.'


Attention at Atletico will then need to be turned on the playing squad and even on Diego Simeone, the highest-earning coach in football. It will also affect the third-most expensive playing staff in LaLiga. Atletico's wage bill stands at £312million.


The top earner at the club is not a player but manager Simeone, who is paid a staggering £37m per year - £700,000 per week.


Goalkeeper Jan Oblak is paid almost half of Simeone's salary but is the club's highest earner on the playing staff at £360,000 p/w.


Diego Costa takes home £270,000 p/w, while another former Chelsea striker, Alvaro Morata is paid £700,000 p/w.  


Captain Koke (£270,000 p/w), Felix (£250,000 p/w) and Saul Niguez (£206,000 p/w) are the next highest earners.   


When the club announced its budget at the start of the season, they projected revenue to be at £462m. That figure is now in danger of not being reached if remaining games have to be played behind closed doors or even not played at all, endangering television money as well as matchday income.


'Everyone is doing ERTEs,' said president Enrique Cerezo. 'But ERTEs are not EREs,' he added in reference to permanent lay-offs, which is also an option for clubs. 


Asked about the possibility of wage cuts for playing and coaching staff he added: 'We have spoken to the players and they are aware of the situation. I know that there were be no problem, not from them, or the coaching staff.' 


The halt in the season came at the most inopportune moment for Atletico Madrid. They were on a high having knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League and Simeone finally had his full playing staff back fit again.


The latest rumours circulating among some players has pointed to the possibility of restarting the league in mid-May but Cerezo warned: 'We don't know how the situation is going to evolve. And it's pointless saying that we could restart in May because nobody knows.'


Spain is suffering more than any country in Europe other than Italy during the coronavirus pandemic.


The number of people who have died rose by 769 in just one day, with the latest total of deaths being 4,858.


The total number of Covid-19 cases in Spain is over 64,000.


At Barcelona, the club's hierarchy and star-studded squad have been at odds once more, with a reduction in wages mooted owing to the financial difficulties faced as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in Spain.


Sportsmail reported on Thursday that the senior members of the squad baulked at a proposed 70 per cent reduction in wages, with president Josep Maria Bartomeu looking to secure a more favourable compromise. However, the Barcelona board have decided to go ahead and cut the players wages without securing the approval of the players, Marca reports.


With FIFA advocating that clubs should cut their players wages by 50 per cent while competitions have been halted, Barcelona have seized the incentive to cut the wages of their squad.


A statement from Barcelona's board explained that since the players' working hours have been reduced, it would follow that their wages should as well. 

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