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“Barçagate” weighed on players’ minds when discussing pay cut - report

The secret social media campaign continues to have fallout

US-IT-FACEBOOK Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona players delayed agreeing to a 70% reduction in salary during the state of emergency called in Spain, leading to rumors they would not agree to such a pay cut. Ultimately, these rumors were proved wrong as the squad agreed to it yesterday, plus additional money to pay club employees. According to Lionel Messi, they always intended to agree to it, they just were looking for the right “formula” before proceeding.

A new report sheds light on this, saying part of it was a legal matter, with some players’ lawyers recommending different courses of action in terms of getting the most benefit for the club.

Another part was internal debate amongst the squad about the merits of the cut. Not all players were convinced right away, even though the team’s four captains (Messi, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué, and Sergi Roberto) reportedly were on board from the very start.

Interestingly, “Barçagate” was said to play a role in the debate, too. That is the nickname given to a scandal from earlier this year in which the Barcelona board was caught paying a social media company which created a secret campaign aimed at discrediting club president Josep Maria Bartomeu’s enemies. That campaign sometimes targeted the club’s own players.

One player reportedly asked, “will our money be used to pay the million euros used for Barçagate?”

Another factor: players were annoyed the club leaked its intention to cut pay before telling the squad itself.

Despite all this, the captains ultimately got a full agreement from all senior players to go ahead with the pay cut. The report says the process ultimately unified the dressing room.