RMC Sport report that Marseille have begun negotiations with the 1st team group to bring about a drop in wages during this unprecedented crisis period. OM President Jacques-Henri Eyraud promised the players that they will receive their wages in totality, but only if the season resumes and the TV rights are paid.
A salary effort, negotiated by the UNFP, the French players union, is about to be formally agreed upon by all professional players. According to a system of income brackets, which takes the salary during the period of partial unemployment as a reference, players could therefore only receive, as a first step, a percentage of their usual remuneration (up to a drop of 50% for those who earn more than €100,000 gross per month) at least for the months of March and April – probably also May – before recovering what they are due at the end of the season. This is a recommendation from the UNFP union, which will serve as a basis for professional clubs, even though they have to conduct internal negotiations between management and players.
This is particularly the case at Olympique de Marseille. In recent days, Jacques-Henri Eyraud has increased the number of meetings he has held with players by telephone or videoconference. The club president made it clear to his players that they were going to have to make a wage effort, in this period of unprecedented crisis, something that “JHE” repeated this Wednesday on TMC: “We are in the crisis, and obviously the players have to make efforts, significant efforts. I am confident.”
More concretely, Jacques-Henri Eyraud first asked the players if they would agree to enter into negotiations with a view to lowering their salaries. He then made a commitment to the 1st team: all salaries will be paid, latest the month following the end of the league season, if the TV rights were indeed paid by the broadcasters.
There still remains a major unknown for many players, and a subject of tension, especially at OM: what will happen if the season does not come to an end?
According to our information, President Eyraud has clearly explained to his troops that the club will not be able to pay them the full salary if the season does not come to an end and therefore if OM do not receive their TV rights money. Marseille are still due to receive around €27m in TV rights money, not to mention the shortfall linked to other revenue: ticketing, sponsorship, merchandising…
This firm position from Jacques-Henri Eyraud has upset figures in the dressing room. A handful of players have said they will agree to lower their wages if the season comes to an end. Others are worried, annoyed by this prospect, and ask for more guarantees. Some are letting discussions take place without taking sides, as if embarrassed to speak up. Clearly, this situation divides opinion inside the dressing room. To the point of causing a little bitterness – the word is weak – among players favourable to this negotiation, who do not understand the reluctance of some of their colleagues.
A close friend to a Marseille player had the following to say on the matter:
“The subject is taboo in this period. Obviously the footballers are not to be pitied and the most important things is the fight against the disease and the damage that this health crisis can do for the most vulnerable. But players have a right to also ask questions. The more money you have, the higher the standard of living, with significant costs to bear, that is a reality. I think the players are all ready to cut their wages down, to help OM, but not under any conditions.”
The central question that Eyraud must answer: how will players be paid if the season is not completed?