The announcement did not go unnoticed. A drop fluctuating between 30% and 60% of his salary over the next four seasons: in total, it is 12 million euros that Dimitri Payet will abandon at Olympique de Marseille as part of the extension of his contract until ‘in 2024 announced on Saturday 27 June.
A “Considerable financial effort”, applauded Jacques-Henri Eyraud, the president of the club. And for good reason. Not many football players have made such a sacrifice since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The fall in wages was in fact the home of the cousins of ovalism. The economic situation of rugby is such in the face of Covid 19 that the National Directorate of Management Control Aid (DNACG) had recommended at the heart of the containment a reduction in wages by 31%. It was a lot, and the clubs didn’t push the cursor that far. But the majority of them negotiated agreements with the players, the Union-Bègles-Bordeaux last in date confirming on June 25 an accepted effort of 20%, “One of the most important in French rugby”, welcomed Laurent Marti, president of the UBB.
Between 10 and 20% drop in the Top 14
If the negotiations are not finished at the Stade Français or in Bayonne and if the managers of Agen and Racing 92 preferred not to embark on this movement, the reductions oscillate elsewhere effectively between 10 and 20%. “We are the only discipline that can take advantage of such agreements, would like to emphasize Robins Tchale-Watchou, the president of Provale, the players’ union. The players thus show their sense of responsibility and it will be necessary to remember it tomorrow so that on other decisions, we take into account our opinion ».
More responsible than soccer players, the guys of rugby? “The framework is not quite the same, notes Jean-François Brocard, economist at the Center for Rights and Economics of Sport in Limoges. In rugby, there still remains a certain attachment to clubs and management stability which also explain the stronger relationships of trust between players and managers. They are much less in football where individualism and player trading prevail ”.
However, the current agreements are only a temporary solution to the nagging question of the overly large payroll that clubs are struggling with. To limit it and preserve the fairness of the Top 14, the “salary cap” system has certainly existed since 2010, imposing a cap on this payroll today set at 11.3 million euros. But with the crisis caused by the pandemic, some leaders are campaigning for a lowering of this ceiling. “We can lower our overall payroll because we are the country that pays the best players and we have no objective reason to do so as the competition is limited to England”, underlined Pierre-Yves Revol, the president of Castres, at the beginning of June. England, which has just reduced its own salary cap from 7.7 to 6.6 million euros.
The salary cap system to review
UBB President Laurent Marti is in fact planning to lower the ceiling in France from 11.3 to 9.3 million euros, along with the creation of a “marquee player”, a player with a very high salary which in each workforce would be extracted from the calculation of the payroll. “The subject can be put on the table but be careful not to want to make decisions too quickly, especially at this time when there are still many uncertainties”, avertit Robins Tchale-Watchou.
“The salary cap is a fragile tool with us and is regularly circumvented because, unlike in the United States for example where it was born for basketball, its ceiling is not the result of negotiation but an arbitrary calculation applying to clubs with very disparate budgets, four times less at Agen than at the Stade Français for example, explains Jean-François Brocard. For it to be effective, everyone would have to sit around the table to redefine the rules ”. And there, to get along, there is still a long way to go.