Pandemic coronavirus has already caused significant damage to the top leagues of Europe. Due to the early end of the season clubs have lost significant revenues from the sale of tickets, and the financial crisis deprives them of sponsors and government support. Another big problem – the existing contracts of players who make up the bulk of expenses.
On may 7, in Italy, was scheduled third match of the final series, but the coronavirus left the country without a champion. Due to the outbreak of the tournament was interrupted on February 24.
When it became clear that the championship will not be the managers of the clubs spoke of the need to reduce the contracts of the players. The interests of the clubs represented the League, and the position players defended the agents. Volleyball players were ready to go on reduction by 20% and give the clubs more time to repay debts. Clubs began the discussion with a reduction of 40 %.
In the end, the League decided to reduce the annual salary of all players of the series A1 30 %, with the exception of those who earn less than 20 thousand euros. “This is an attempt to cope with a very serious damages and losses clubs have incurred in force majeure circumstances”,- said the League, estimating the lost revenues of the clubs in 24 million euros.
Contracts players usually operate from 1 August to 31 may. In fact, they were deprived of their salaries for three months – March, April and may. And they really did not like. The players made a collective letter.
“We consider it wrong that a large part of the damage caused by the situation, bear athletes and coaches whose rights and dignity are violated again. We will protect your rights in all ways, including litigation,” – a statement with such content published in their social networks, many of the stars of the championship of Italy – Ivan Zaitsev, Osmani Huantorena, the Nimir Abdel-Aziz and others.
“Why, we’re liable, if not guilty of anything? The League took the clubs under the protection of and turned away from us. It is very ugly. Volleyball looking for us, business is built on us. What they did was horrible. The situation is difficult for everyone, but it is unfair that the burden of the crisis fell on the shoulders of the players. It is immoral and inhuman” – emotionally said blocking Milan , Jan Kozamernik in an interview to Slovenian edition Siol.net.
Binder Dragan Travica, who yesterday moved from the “Padua” in “Perugia”, also believes that the decision was taken unilaterally and the players have given up the most.
The position of the clubs, perhaps best expressed the General Manager of the “Trentino” Bruno da Re.
“Clubs do not want anybody to steal money. We have suffered losses that no refund. So we can’t pay the workers one hundred percent of salary. Clubs now only spend, and the one who receives the income, the players. No one wants to leave 30 percent of wages, but, unfortunately, the damage should be distributed among all of us – I also came home and told the family that in the coming months remained unpaid. We ask for reductions as needed. Clubs in trouble, the whole economy is in crisis and the players should understand this. The survival of the clubs is also in their interest. We will communicate with our players. I think that they will not build legal barriers”, – quotes Yes Re Volleynews.it.
However, the insider La Gazzetta dello Sport Gianluca Pasini reports that the first letters from the lawyers had come to office in the League. While this warning about the desire of players to fight for their right. They intend to appeal to the European volleyball Confederation (CEV) and the international volleyball Federation (FIVB).
Many managers of Italian clubs note that it is hard to imagine the next season. They hope for help from the state, which, for example, can give tax breaks to the sponsors of the clubs. The proposal was made by the sports Director “Civitanova” Giuseppe Cormio: “It could be an incentive for sponsors to stay in the sport and volleyball in particular.”
In Italy, the budgets of the clubs are formed with the support of dozens of smaller sponsors. They are all in varying degrees have suffered because of the emergency situation in the country and are unlikely to be able to help volleyball in the same volume. So even the top clubs are talking about cuts in budgets and forced parting with some stars. Obviously, the financial arms race for the time discontinued.
“We must be careful not to lose the key figures of the championship and not to drop the level of the tournament, but at the same time some positions can take promising young players. We will create new stars,” said Cormie. “We have to create a completely new product” – Yes, agree Re.
In Poland there is no centralized solution to reduce contracts – each club solves this question independently. To “Scratch” the players agreed to a 15 percent reduction of salaries for the months of inactivity.
“I was very encouraged by the attitude of the players in this situation. Our talks, considering how it looked in other clubs, went very smoothly. We found a compromise,” said club President Conrad Piechocki.
In the “Gdansk” the reduction of salaries was an individual. Max it was 17% for players with the biggest contracts. “The gap in pay is quite significant. For volleyball players, earning a lot of money, loss of earnings acceptable,” – said in an interview Sportowe Fakty club President Dariusz gadomski. He expects that due to coronavirus crisis club will lose several sponsors and partners, so the budget for next season will be reduced by 30 %.
The biggest scandal in recent weeks erupted around the club “Katowice”. It all started with a tweet U.S. Libero Dustin of Wattana.
“The club President told me to go to the United States. This morning I received an invitation to meet at the club at 15:00. Of course I could not appear in Katowice, and in 16:00 I received a statement which says that my contract for the season 2020-2021 terminated. Fair game?”, wrote volleyball player. Head coach Dariusz Dashkevich, which terminated the contract in the same way, said that instead of negotiating “the club have used blackmail and intimidation”.
Agent Jakub Michalak explained what is the blackmail: “the Players have to sign a statement renouncing the bonus portion of the contract. If they do not, the club threatens them with termination of contracts in force for next season”. Previously, the club occupying the 6th place at the time of the suspension of the tournament, cut the main part of the contracts by 18 %.
Vice-mayor of Katowice Waldemar Bojarun explained such drastic measures by the need for deep cuts in payroll next year because the club’s budget will be significantly reduced because of the crisis. “The financial situation of the club largely depends on the financial situation of the city. In the context of the economic crisis and costs related to the consequences of the epidemic, there is a need to restrict current expenditures. Other clubs that depend on public funds, are in a similar situation. Players should understand this. If someone thinks this is unfair, the court will consider all impartially. Alternative such savings solution might be the elimination of the club, but we do not want”, – said Barun in an interview Sportowe Fakty, walking away from all of style of negotiation with the players.
The German championship due to coronavirus crisis lost two teams, and the Austro-German club of”Hypo Tirol” ceased to exist (recall that this team in the last season in the 1/8 final of the CEV Cup knocked out of the draw of the champion of Ukraine in Lviv “Burke-Kagani”). The project was founded in 2017 as a result of cooperation of the German club “Unterhaching” from the eponymous town and the champion of Austria “Tyrol” Innsbruck (distance 150 km).
“Coronavirus crisis is not the only reason for the completion of the project, but ultimately he was the decisive factor. We were successful in sport and has won the recognition of fans, but are unable to achieve economic goals. Since the inception of the club, we sought to increase our budget by 30 percent to 2 million euros. We did not succeed. Because of the crisis caused by coronavirus, it is unlikely that we can maintain our previous budget. In these conditions the risk is too great and we can’t go,” said managing Director of club Hannes Kronthaler.
Previously due to the financial problems of performances in the German Bundesliga refused “Rothenburg”. Earlier it became known that the League will not play “Eltmann”. The sponsor of the club Heitec in December has filed for bankruptcy.
Salaries in European leagues fall and strong players this year literally lined up to participate in the draft in the Korean League where you can earn 350 thousand dollars. Seven places claim 47 players, including David Konarski, Mitja Gasparini, Rozalin Penchev, Amir Gafur, Rodin Miskevich, Christian Fromm and others.