Athletic Bilbao have joined Spain’s leading clubs in implementing cuts to players’ wages in a bid to limit the economic damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Bilbao’s announcement on Wednesday night means they become the latest La Liga team to take economic precautions after the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla were all forced to reduce their wage bills.
“The annual salary will drop by 17% if the competition cannot resume and by 6% if the season resumes behind closed doors,” an Athletic Bilbao statement read.
“The players of the Athletic Bilbao men’s first team, under the direction of their captains and in a gesture of responsibility and great commitment, agreed to voluntarily and significantly reduce their pay due to the circumstances which may affect the end of the 2019-20 season.”
Before the season was halted in the middle of March due to Covid-19, Bilbao sat 10th in the table and were due to play in the final of the Copa del Rey against Basque rivals Real Sociedad, who have also announced pay cuts for their players.
La Liga has identified three potential dates to resume the season, at the end of May, beginning of June or end of June. But any return is likely to involve fixtures being played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future. Spain has been one of the worst-hit countries by coronavirus, with the number of confirmed deaths surpassing 19,000 on Thursday.