Since the coronavirus crisis which has put the finances of certain sports clubs, and notably football, in difficulty, the debate has raged over the salary cuts accepted or not by professional players. OM captain Dimitri Payet recently paid the price.
There is a debate about some football players who refuse any cut in wages to help their club in these times of crisis. Dimitri Payet, the captain of OM, has drawn the wrath of many people saying that he has charges to pay. For you, it's easy to hit the players on this kind of subject, you are quite divided.
The first reflex is to get angry against their selfish attitude and above ground as we say today. It is true that when Dimitri Payet explains that he has expenses and that he must act as a good father, we say that with a salary of 500,000 euros monthly, it should be possible to manage his ends of the month without too many problems. And we also want to answer him that if he wanted to stick to the cliché of billionaire in shorts who only thinks of him, he would not have done it otherwise.
Inevitably, it is complicated to hear this kind of thing for all the French who lost their jobs because of this crisis, for those who saw their wages fall because they worked less and for the people who work in clubs and who legitimately worry about their future.
If he played bowling rather than football, Dimitri Payet would have succeeded in a legendary strike in one sentence. So communication is disastrous, that's for sure. But basically, it is not as simple as that.
Do you apologize?
Yes, for several reasons. First a football career is very short. But hey, this argument is quite short too, I admit.
Then it must be said that many footballers in France accepted wage cuts during the crisis. Footballers too, more easily for that matter, but that's another debate. So certainly, it did not happen as we saw at Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona or Juventus in Turin, where all the staff agreed to be paid less. In France, we have rather done case by case, suddenly everyone sees what suits him. It's not glorious, that's for sure. But it does not remind you of the meetings of leaders where everyone saw noon at their door for the end of the season, the resumption or the white season? So why would we criticize players for wanting to defend their own interests? They do like everyone else, actually ... So they may have selfish reactions, yes, it's annoying, but it's human. We cannot ask them to be models of virtue in a world of football that is not virtuous at all.
Behind Dimitri Payet's message, there is also necessarily the idea that if his club is in a complicated financial situation, it is not the fault of the players and that he does not want to pay the money. Yes it is simplistic, yes it is awkward and he should not have expressed himself like that. But he is right on one point: this crisis has shown us that football should question its economic model, if it continues to only surf the bubble of TV rights, it is dangerous.
It is not at the level of the players that the changes can take place, they do not have the keys to the economic model. And it is not by lowering their wages for three months that the visionaries will go back to green. But it's so much easier to hit them than it is to look for global solutions.