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Pro football league welcomes players' union proposal for talks on reducing salary

All News 14:02 April 17, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean men's professional football league on Friday welcomed a proposal by the players' union for discussions on reducing their salary, with the competition having been on hold for nearly two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Korea Professional Football League, or K League, said it will "actively engage" the Korea Pro-Footballer's Association (KPFA) in talks on players' salary.

In this file photo from March 11, 2020, Daegu FC players train at Daegu Stadium in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

The top-division K League 1 was supposed to have kicked off Feb. 29 but has been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The league hasn't come close to determining a new start date, and teams recently reported that they stand to lose millions in revenues compared with a season ago -- mostly from drops in corporate sponsorships and gate receipts.

Some teams have said their executives and employees will take pay cuts to keep their operations afloat, but there hasn't been any movement regarding players' salary, which is a major source of expenditure for clubs.

That's in contrast to big leagues in Europe, where players have agreed to have their salary cut to help clubs save money.

Earlier on Friday, the KPFA asked the K League and its clubs for a meeting "at the earliest possible date."

"We understand K League clubs are in a difficult situation," the KPFA said. "But at the same time, other than the select few players, there are many who don't make enough money to even discuss taking a pay cut. The league, teams and the union must all get together for practical, in-depth discussions on this issue."

Hours later, the K League said it was glad to hear the KPFA's proposal, and thanks the union for its understanding of the challenges that the league and its teams are facing.

On Tuesday, the K League said its 22 clubs -- 12 in the K League 1 and 10 in the K League 2 -- could see their revenues fall by a combined 57.5 billion won (US$47.2 million) this year.

In 2019, teams made 371.9 billion won, and the estimated 57.5 billion won represents a little over 15 percent of that total.

This image provided by the Korea Pro-Footballer's Association on April 17, 2020, shows the organization's logo. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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