Wed | May 27, 2020

RSPL clubs to slash players’ salaries in half

Published:Wednesday | April 1, 2020 | 12:27 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Portmore United’s Shai Smith (left) and Dunbeholden’s Shaquille Dyer battle for the ball during a Red Stripe Premier league encounter at the Spanish Town Prison Oval on December 1 last year.
Portmore United’s Shai Smith (left) and Dunbeholden’s Shaquille Dyer battle for the ball during a Red Stripe Premier league encounter at the Spanish Town Prison Oval on December 1 last year.

Red Stripe Premier League players will, starting this month, face a 50 per cent cut in their salaries. The Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) took the decision to cut salaries for players and staff at a virtual meeting on Monday. The league’s management body, which comprises all 12 RSPL clubs, agreed to the cut in pay for the period they are out of competition. They will, however, restart full payment when the league resumes.

PLCA vice president, Carvel Stewart, said the coronavirus pandemic has forced the football season into an unavoidable prolonged extension, so for the period the league is on hold, clubs and players have to come to a compromise and he believes the 50 per cent payment is a reasonable offer.

“The 50 per cent will keep them (players) going and keep the clubs going as well. Salaries to players are not the only expenses the clubs have to pay and all those costs have to be budgeted and met. So clubs experience a lot of expenses and to mitigate some of the fallout from the delay in competition we have to cut cost,” Stewart who is also the president of Harbour View Football Club, told The Gleaner.

“In respect to salaries for all staff, each club will decide and determine what they will afford. It is for them to negotiate with their full staff and come to a position on what they can afford during the period the league is not being played.

“The clubs agreed that it (pay cut) wouldn’t go above (50 per cent), but it’s up to the individual clubs. They may agree on this thing but then they meet up with their players they may agree more. But each club decides what they can or cannot afford,” he said. RSPL clubs paid their players in full for March.

“Had there been no coronavirus, six of the clubs would have ended their season this month (March), so for some people there wouldn’t be any further income for this season. The virus came as somewhat like a lifeline, so for a longer period players are going to be paid and additionally, on the resumption of the league to completion, full salaries will return,” Stewart said.

HOPING FOR RESTART

Meanwhile, the league, which has been on suspension, since March 12, will only be cancelled if there is no other option the Harbour View president revealed. He said the consensus from the clubs is to complete the league as it is the ‘professional’ thing to do, and they are hoping to restart in May, June or July.

“Our handling of this matter is very important and we believe we have to do so professionally, and the professional thing to do is complete the league. So we are listening to the Government and waiting on the all clear to see which of the proposed start dates we can commence.

“The vast majority of clubs are committed to completing the league. We believe everybody will take on their responsibilities seriously and ensure we get that result (league completion).”

Stewart added that the PLCA wanted to reactivate and bring a really outstanding conclusion to what has been a very competitive season but they had to be cognisant of and respond to what the Government dictates as it relates to the controlling and containing of the virus. “Therefore our final decision will be contingent on that,” he concluded.

The league was postponed with four rounds of games remaining in the regular season. Several clubs in some of the richest leagues in the world are said to be negotiating pay cuts with players. On Monday Barcelona’s Lionel Messi announced that the club’s players will take a 70 per cent pay cut because of the coronavirus. Spain is one the hardest hit countries. More than 8,400 people have died from the virus.