Topfoto FRANCE (WAGE)

Wage agreement in men's professional football in France

14 July 2020
As soon as professional competitive matches were suspended in France, the labour-relations partners entered talks, overseen by the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), on a package of financial support measures to help clubs cope during these unprecedented times.

A number of key challenges quickly came to the fore:

  • It was impossible to put an exact figure on clubs’ losses or loss of earnings (impact on club revenue) because of uncertainties about future developments;

  • It was impossible to secure the buy-in of all individual players for a collective (temporary or permanent) wage-bill reduction scheme due to the fragmented situation;

  • There was no comparability from one professional club to the next, since clubs’ income was heavily dependent on the share of TV broadcasting rights they had already received for the 2019-2020 season and, more importantly, on their financial health prior to the pandemic;

  • The picture was equally inconsistent for the financial and contractual situation across professional players, meaning a purely collective approach would prove impossible.

Having taken stock of these challenges, club and player representatives quickly settled on an innovative and progressive approach to build a flexible implementation scheme designed to enable players to provide tailored contributions to the recovery of their clubs while respecting important labour relations standards (players agreed to allow clubs deferring part of the salaries payment. The deferred portion would depend on the player’s initial wage. The higher the player’s wage, the greater the percentage the club could defer until its cash-flow situation had at least partially recovered).

This scheme also integrated pragmatic solutions due to COVID-19 restrictions such as electronic solutions for contract amendments and working methods.

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