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Spanish Footballers’ Association Backs FC Barcelona Players in Pay Cut Showdown, Manchester United Executive Asks for Return of Fans to Stadiums and More (Football Round-Up)

Short Passes (Football News Round-up): FC Barcelona players get backing from Spanish Footballers' Association in pay cut showdown with club | Manchester United executive Woodward calls for fans to be let back into stadiums | Mediapro seeks agreement over French football rights payments | Marcus Rashford clashes with Tory MPs over free school meals | UEFA abandons its attempt to hold the Under-19 finals.
FC Barcelona players pay cut

According to reports, FC Barcelona have decided to cut wages by 30 percent, but the players were not part of the discussion regarding it.

The Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE) has decided to back the players of FC Barcelona during an official meeting held to discuss the reduction of wages for all staff members at the club. 

According to reports, the Catalan side has decided to cut wages by 30 percent. However, the players have decided to reject any proposal made by the club in this regard after none of them were allowed to participate in the discussion. 

The players want to be involved in the discussion regarding their wage cuts, which will be concluded in the next 15 days. And if their demands are not met, they will take legal action. 

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 “This procedure, in our opinion, suffers from serious formal defects. A negotiating table has been set up to discuss the measures to be adopted and the players are not represented as they have not been eligible in the elections of the committee” read the statement from the association. “It is our duty to request that the club reverse this process and initiate, if it is deemed necessary, a dialogue with the professional footballers through the established legal channels.”

“Beyond the serious defects regarding the composition of the negotiating table, we ask that the club opt to negotiate these measures in two differentiated processes: One for workers with an ordinary employment contract and another for professional athletes subject to a special employment relationship,” it said. “Only from the individualised analysis of a group such as professional footballers can an agreed solution emerge within the framework of this process.”

Woodward Wants Fans Back 

The executive vice-chairman of Manchester United, Ed Woodward, urged the government to permit fans back into the football stadiums. He said it during a conversation with investors at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. 

“While the situation in Greater Manchester and the UK as a whole continues to evolve, our plans for this are well advanced and we are confident of ours and the whole league’s ability to welcome them back in a safe, bio-secure environment,” said Woodward. “Crowds have been permitted to return to varying degrees in over 20 European countries, albeit with significant capacity restrictions to allow for social distancing, and we urge the UK government to follow these positive examples as soon as it is safe to do so.”

“While we recognise that public health must always be the priority, what is needed is consistency of approach. If people are allowed to sit in a plane for hours, or in the cinema, or even watch football in a cinema why not outside in a stadium environment which is professionally managed and controlled?,” he said. “If indoor concerts are allowed, why should outdoor, socially-distanced football fans be treated differently? Fans are the bedrock of this game and some of the inconsistencies out there are frustrating for them and for the clubs.”

Woodward also dismissed reports that the clubs were intending to form a European Super League and stated that they were intending to hold official talks with UEFA to discuss the future of the Champions League. 

"I saw the reports on that and candidly don't know where that story came from, there isn't really anything for us to say," Woodward said "With those two entities, ECA and UEFA, (we are) talking about potential changes to the Champions League from '24 onwards," said Woodward.

Mediapro Agreement

The founder of the Spanish media rights agency Mediapro, Jaume Roures, Wednesday said that the agency is working with the football governing body of France to seek an agreement over its Ligue 1 broadcasting rights. 

Earlier this month, The French League (LFP) handed a formal notice to Mediapro to pay 172 million euros ($203.75 million) as part of its broadcasting deal. 

The French League also clarified that if both the parties do not reach an agreement then it might consider handing over the contract to other operators. Mediapro, which operated the Telefoot channel, had agreed to pay 780 million euros per season to broadcast the matches. 

Mediapro emphasised its need to renegotiate the deal in view of the Coronavirus pandemic and its initial request has already been turned down. 

Roures stated that the company is working along with the French League to seek an agreement from court. He further added that a renegotiation for the deal will only be applied to the current season.

Rashford Slams Tory MPs 

England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford clashed against a Tory MP to extend the free school meals campaign (FSM) set in motion by the striker. The MP suggested the extension would destroy the economy. 

Rashford, who was conferred the MBE earlier this year, forced the Government into a U-turn regarding providing of the free school meals during the summer holidays. He told the MP in a tweet, “This is not going away and neither am I.”

Steve Baker took to twitter and responded to Marcus Rashford after he requested the MPs not to ‘turn a blind eye’ to hungry children ahead of crunch vote. 

“No one will be turning a blind eye and it is wrong to suggest anyone would. Not destroying the currency with excessive QE is also one of our duties,” tweeted Baker. 

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Following this Rashford asked Steve to turn his comments on to which Baker said, “You have 3.4M followers Marcus, to my 96K. The power is yours here. Everyone knows feeding hungry children is a top priority. I’d like to see UC [universal credit] boosted. But if the economy and currency collapse, the poor will be devastated. Alleging a blind eye is just wrong.”

Rashford, in a series of tweets, then said: ‘Paying close attention to the Commons today and to those who are willing to turn a blind eye to the needs of our most vulnerable children, 2.2 million of them who currently qualify for free school meals.”

UEFA Calls Off Under-19 Finals

UEFA called off the under-19 championships in Northern Ireland after postponing it several times. 

“The final tournament of which was due to be hosted in Northern Ireland – due to the current unresolved epidemiological situation in Europe and resulting travelling difficulties,” said the statement. 

The tournament was originally scheduled to be held at the end of July this year but was postponed in November and then March next year.

“Since the 2019/20 edition of the UEFA Under-19 European Championship was a qualifier to the FIFA U-20 World Cup – scheduled to take place in Indonesia from 20 May to 12 June – it was decided that the five slots reserved for European teams in the competition be allocated to the teams occupying the top five positions in the UEFA qualifying round coefficient ranking for the 2019/20 season,” added the statement.

 “Consequently, the teams of England, France, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal (in alphabetical order) will be the European representatives nominated to participate in the FIFA U-20 World Cup.” it said. 

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