Faced with the health and economic crisis, the players of the Stade de Reims and the technical staff announced on Monday the reduction of their wages until June 2021. The president of Reims Jean-Pierre Caillot explains to us the undersides of a decision which intervenes after that of Strasbourg, Lens or Montpellier.
How did you go about offering a pay cut to the players?
JEAN-PIERRE CAILLOT. The first step, with two or three colleagues, was to meet the UNFP (Editor’s note: the union of professional footballers), with a view to finding a branch agreement. I caused this meeting in mid-January because I wanted us to have a vision of what was going to happen in terms of TV rights. Even though it was not resolved at the time, we knew our problems would not be resolved. A branch agreement is not legally possible to set up, we agreed that we would take steps club by club.
How did you talk to the employees of your club?
I brought together all the players as well as all the sports and medical staff, to whom I presented the overall situation of French football: 1.3 billion losses, certainly linked to the failure of Mediapro but also to the Covid, to the fact that ‘we no longer have a ticket office or hospitality in the face of constant charges. Based on this observation, I made it known that it was desirable for players to have an action on their salary, even if that does not solve all our problems.
What welcome did you receive?
My interlocutors were aware of the situation. I think it is not incompatible to be a footballer and a responsible citizen. I concluded my intervention by saying that it was a meeting with history. I had the pleasure of meeting the membership of the whole group. It was symbolic for me, I didn’t wish there were one or two that didn’t make the effort. Unlike other clubs, we didn’t do it case by case. Everyone was asked for the same percentage, the same for salaries and bonuses (Editor’s note: Mr. Caillot did not wish to specify the amount of the percentage). This was accepted by all, without even discussing or asking for compensation. In some clubs, players have asked to recover later what they gave up or an additional year of contract. Not one complained. They have all been overwhelmingly positive. To my surprise, a certain number of them signed the amendment to their contract, without even referring to their advisor.
How much is this player effort?
These salary cuts until the end of the season are equivalent to one month of cash, or between 2.7 and 3 million euros. As a leader, it motivates even more to roll up your sleeves and look for solutions to get out of the crisis.
How much do you estimate the fall in the club’s resources this season?
The Stade de Reims will lose 20 million euros in TV rights compared to what was expected, plus 10 million due to the lack of ticketing and hospitality.
How are you going to compensate for these losses?
We had the opportunity or the chance to work well this summer in the transfer window. We will offset some of these losses by selling players this summer, as well as with equity. And probably by a transfer which did not take place this winter but will take place in the summer.
Is there any pride in having reached such an agreement?
We are used to doing what we say. It has been explained for years that human values exist in football, that clubs like ours are strong, with family roots. It is in these moments that we can measure the attachment of our employees. It is heartwarming. The players can be proud of the image they send, the antipodes of the wealthy footballer, who thinks only of himself.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr