SHANGHAI • Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs look set to become the latest to slash player salaries, as teams throughout world football attempt to offset the financial blow of the coronavirus pandemic.
Players at European giants Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have already agreed to take temporary pay cuts ranging from 20-70 per cent.
Those in the CSL, which has sprung to prominence by giving world-leading wages to foreign stars, are also under growing pressure to follow suit.
According to British tabloid The Sun, former Chelsea midfielder Oscar, who now plies his trade for Shanghai SIPG, is the highest-paid player in the country with a weekly wage of £400,000 (S$705,000).
Teammate and compatriot Hulk is just behind him, with the striker earning £320,000.
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) said that following talks on Thursday night with clubs, those in the CSL and its two lower tiers will thrash out terms for a “reasonable” reduction in pay.
The cuts will be backdated to March 1 and last until the new season begins, with latest reports saying that will be late next month at the earliest.
The CSL campaign was supposed to start on Feb 22, but was indefinitely postponed by the Covid-19 outbreak, which began in China late last year before spreading worldwide.
“Professional football clubs and investors generally face operational difficulties,” the CFA said.
“The clubs’ calls for a moderate reduction in their financial burdens and reasonable salary reductions are strong. The (pandemic) has also had a huge impact on the development of global football.”
CSL clubs have made headlines in recent years by luring big-name stars like Shandong Luneng’s ex-Southampton striker Graziano Pelle and Marouane Fellaini, formerly of Everton and Manchester United, by dangling eye-watering wages.
The CFA has, however, since introduced a number of measures to rein in spending and cool the Chinese transfer market.
The body added that it had approached world governing body Fifa over the issue of salary reductions and received its support.