Bayern players accept salary cut until ‘end of season’

Bayern Munich sit seven points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga. (AFP)
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Updated 30 May 2020

Bayern players accept salary cut until ‘end of season’

  • In April, the Bayern squad took a 20-percent reduction in salary
  • Bayern sit seven points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga

BERLIN: Bayern Munich players have accepted a salary cut which will last until the “end of the season” to help the Bundesliga champions through the coronavirus crisis, club president Herbert Hainer said on Saturday.

In April, the Bayern squad took a 20 percent reduction in salary, but Hainer did not specify how large the cut was this time.

“It is very satisfying to see that our team understands the situation and will again give up part of their salary until the end of the season,” Hainer told German daily Bild.

Bayern sit seven points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga with six games remaining as they look set to win a record-extending eighth straight title.

The German top-flight season is scheduled to end on June 27, although Bayern could potentially also be in the German Cup final on July 4.

Hansi Flick’s side are also still in the Champions League, after a 3-0 victory at Chelsea in their last 16 first leg before the coronavirus lockdown, but UEFA are yet to announce how it plans to end that competition.

In another development, La Liga have confirmed players will be allowed to return to full training on Monday, giving them 10 days to work together before the season restarts in Spain on June 11.

This is the final phase of La Liga’s staggered training program as teams get set to complete the remaining 11 rounds of the season, which will finish on July 19.

European competitions, including the Champions League, could then resume in August.

“La Liga clubs will start collective training on Monday, June 1,” the league said in a statement.

“The fourth phase, which starts next Monday, is the last step in this protocol that will lead to clubs starting competition on June 11.”

La Liga president Javier Tebas has said the plan is for games to be played every day. The Spanish football federation (RFEF) gave its permission last week for matches to be staged on all days of the week.

Players in Spain’s top two divisions began training in groups of up to 10 from May 18 and then 14 shortly after, having initially begun working individually at training grounds from May 4.

La Liga suspended fixtures due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 12, meaning the break between games stopping and restarting will be almost exactly three months.

Matches will be held behind closed doors, with the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis expected to be the first game back on June 11.


Man City’s court triumph set to intensify race for top 4 places in Premier League

Updated 14 July 2020

Man City’s court triumph set to intensify race for top 4 places in Premier League

  • The fight for a top-five finish has reverted back to needing to be in the top four to join champion Liverpool and City, already secured in second place

LONDON: Manchester City’s success in overturning its Champions League ban on Monday has huge ramifications on the Premier League and the remaining two teams that will qualify for Europe’s top club competition.

Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester — and maybe Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United, too — are now fighting for two qualifying spots instead of three with two weeks of the season remaining.

The fight for a top-five finish has reverted back to needing to be in the top four to join champion Liverpool and City, already secured in second place, in earning tens of millions of dollars in UEFA prize money next season.

The most concerned team is likely to be Leicester.

In the top four since September — and, in December, even looking like the most realistic title challenger to Liverpool — Leicester have imploded, collecting only two wins from their last 11 league games stretching back to the end of January.

After losing to relegation-threatened Bournemouth 4-1 on Sunday, Leicester will find themselves  in fifth place if Man United beat  Southampton on Monday.

United appears much more likely to secure a top-four finish and return to the Champions League after a season’s absence.

With four straight wins ahead of the Southampton game, United are the form team in the league and also has the most benign remaining schedule with upcoming matches against Crystal Palace and West Ham before what could be a winner-takes-all game game at Leicester on the final weekend of the season.

Making it all the more intriguing is the fact that another final-day match is between Chelsea and Wolves.

Chelsea is currently in third place, one point ahead of Leicester, but will drop into fourth if United beat  Southampton.

A victory over already-relegated Norwich on Tuesday appears pivotal for Chelsea, considering its last two games are at Liverpool — a team chasing records to cap its title-winning season — and then Wolves, who have gained a reputation for beating the top teams over the last two years.

Wolves are in sixth place, four points off the top four, so the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport has come as a blow to their Champions League ambitions.

Indeed, Wolves’ best chance of qualifying for the competition is now to win the Europa League, which earns entry to the Champions League. The team coached by Nuno Espirito Santo has reached the last 16 of the Europa League and will play the second leg of its match against Olympiakos next month, with the score at 1-1 after the first leg.

Likewise, seventh-place Sheffield United needed City to lose its appeal at sport’s highest court to stand a realistic chance of a finish in the Champions League positions, a prospect that would have seemed fanciful for a team that was widely tipped for relegation at the start of the season.

Europa League qualification will be Sheffield United’s target now, with seventh place possibly earning that reward if Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea win the FA Cup.