Coronavirus: AIC rejects pay cut proposal as Tommasi slams 'crazy' Serie A

By Sacha Pisani 7 April 2020 34
Coronavirus: AIC rejects pay cut proposal as Tommasi slams 'crazy' Serie A

The Italian Footballers' Association (AIC) rejected a proposal from Serie A clubs to cut player wages by up to a third amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, Serie A clubs voted in favour of temporarily reducing player wages in an attempt to ease the financial strain caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Italy's top flight was suspended indefinitely last month due to the spread of the virus, and authorities have insisted they will not even consider resuming action until it is safe to do so.

With Serie A's hiatus impacting clubs financially, league-wide pay cuts for players and coaching staff had been mooted, however the AIC slammed the proposal.

"The AIC Board of Directors, meeting today for their usual weekly meeting, which was followed by a meeting with the representatives of the Serie A teams, deemed the proposal put forward by Lega Serie A and B to be inadmissible," the statement read.

"The behaviour of the leagues is incomprehensible at a time like this. The desire, not so much implied, of wanting to dump on the players, putting them in a bad light, the economic damage resulting from the crisis situation, is a fact that makes you reconsider the entrepreneurial credibility of those who should be ferrying the football system at this difficult time.

"To think that a resolution from an assembly meeting must be used to decide not to pay players any longer leaves us speechless.

"The same Presidents who would like a suspension of salaries sent their teams out to play until March 9, made them train until mid-March and still monitor and control individual training carried out according to the directives of their coaches.

"The discussion of the past few weeks focused on the contestation of remaining payments to be suspended or postponed, but it never went beyond short telephone calls.

"Now we understand why no agreement was sought on the technical changes to the Collective Agreement. The real intention [of clubs] is not to pay. It leaves us stunned, given that several teams are already sitting with their players, to discuss how to help each other at a time like this."

AIC president Damiano Tommasi said: "If the Serie A clubs have to meet at an assembly meeting to say they won't pay wages when in reality, face to face with the players, individual clubs are looking for common-sense agreements, it's very worrying.

"I can't understand the business logic behind this behaviour: putting the players, the main protagonists, in a bad light, when almost everyone else is already discussing with clubs how to get out of this crisis together. It seems crazy to me."

Vice-president Umberto Calcagno added: "It is a shameful and inadmissible proposal. It is clear the indication that we want to pay only the players for any damage caused by the crisis. 

"The only relevant part of the League press release is the wording that it is said that the teams will have to negotiate contractual changes with individual players."

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, with at least 1,340,270 confirmed cases and more than 74,600 deaths.

Italy has the highest death count with over 16,500 deaths, while cases have exceeded 132,500.

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Sacha Pisani

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