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Barcelona have begun a process to reduce the pay of players, coaches and non-sporting staff to adapt to the huge losses suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a club source said on Wednesday (Oct 7).

Staff have been notified by the club of the need to reduce costs after posting a loss of €97 million (S$155.1 million) in their annual financial report, released on Monday.

The employees, including players, have been asked to nominate a representative over the next two weeks to represent them in the negotiations over the changes to their salaries, added the source.

Barca have been forced to  hold all home matches without spectators since the pandemic began in March, destroying revenue from ticket sales.

Income from merchandising and stadium and museum tours has also been badly affected by a huge drop in tourism to the city.

Barca’s accounts on Wednesday made for grim reading, showing a 14 per cent drop in revenue from the previous year and the doubling of their net debt to €488 million.

The club enacted a temporary pay cut of 70 per cent at the end of March in the height of the pandemic, lasting the duration of Spain’s national state of alarm,   which ended in June.

Barca’s financial troubles also led them to spend the close season lightening the biggest wage bill in European football, offloading Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal for next to nothing, while selling Arthur Melo for €72 million and Nelson Semedo for €30 million.

They only brought in three players, Miralem Pjanic, Francisco Trincao and Sergino Dest for a combined €112 million.

The Catalan giants also failed to make any extra additions before the transfer window shut on Monday, despite showing interest in Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon forward Memphis Depay.


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