Serie A players reject pay cut proposal as 'unmanageable'

FILE - In this Sunday, March 8, 2020 file photo, a view of the empty San Siro stadium during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Genoa, in M...
FILE - In this Sunday, March 8, 2020. filer, players warm up in the empty Allianz stadium, prior to the Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Inte...

FILE - In this Sunday, March 8, 2020 file photo, a view of the empty San Siro stadium during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Genoa, in M...

FILE - In this Sunday, March 8, 2020. filer, players warm up in the empty Allianz stadium, prior to the Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Inte...

ROME (AP) — The Italian soccer players’ association rejected a proposal from Serie A clubs on Monday to reduce salaries by a third if the season does not resume as “unmanageable.”

The guideline austerity measure was agreed on by 19 of the 20 clubs, the Italian league announced, with Juventus not included because it already finalized a deal with its players to relieve financial pressure on the defending champion amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The reduction would be equal to four months of salary but would be reduced to only two months if the season is completed.

The league added “it remains understood that the clubs will define the agreements directly with their members.”

The players' association responded with a statement calling the league's behavior “incomprehensible at a time like this.”

The association adds that the desire to make the players pay for the economic damages from the crisis “by painting them in a bad light should make people reflect on the credibility of those who should be leading the soccer system in this time of difficulty.”

The players’ association notes that the “presidents deciding to suspend wages are the same ones who sent their squads out to play until March 9, and made the players train until mid-March.”

Serie A has been suspended since the government ordered a nationwide lockdown nearly a month ago. Twelve rounds remain along with four games that were postponed from the weekend of Feb. 22. The Italian Cup semifinals also were interrupted after the first leg.

At least 15 Serie A players have tested positive for COVID-19.

Juventus announced last month an agreement with its players to forgo 90 million euros ($100 million) in wages. The deal allows Juventus to avoid paying four months of wages before closing its fiscal calendar-year on June 30 — a savings made even more crucial since Juventus shares are listed on the Milan stock exchange.

Juventus players will reportedly get back about half of their missed salaries after June 30, or perhaps even more if this season resumes

Juventus led Lazio by one point when the season was suspended.

Meanwhile, the players’ association said it was encouraged by a government decree creating a 600 euro ($650) stimulus check for amateur athletes for March.

The players’ association also said it was creating a solidarity fund to help footballers in the lower divisions.

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Andrew Dampf on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf