Six V. League clubs cut players’ salaries over Covid-19 difficulties

By Hoang Nguyen   April 23, 2020 | 05:21 am PT
Six V. League clubs cut players’ salaries over Covid-19 difficulties
Thanh Hoa FC players haven't received their salary since February. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Football Joint Stock Company.
A financial crunch caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted six of 14 V. League 1 clubs to reduce their players’ salaries.

Thanh Hoa FC was the first team to cut their players’ salaries. It cut 30 percent of players’ wages in March, when V. League 1 matches were still being played. When the league got postponed in April, the cut increased to 40 percent and if the games cannot resume in May, it will be 50 percent, the club has said.

The players are not happy. They have not even been paid their salaries for February, March and April.

"I want to hear directly from the management board about problems with the current financial situation of the club and the solutions. The club already owes us salary for three months, if they decide to cut our salaries further then it will be really difficult for us...," said a Thanh Hoa FC player who did not want to be named.

Meanwhile, players of Sai Gon FC offered to take a salary cut on their own. After discussions, the board and players agreed that they will take a 20 percent salary cut in April.

"In this difficult situation, the team wants to help the club to get through this pandemic in a united spirit,’ said Sai Gon FC captain Nguyen Ngoc Duy.

HCMC FC players have also agreed to a 30 percent salary cut in April. If the V. League continues to be delayed beyond May and June, the club will consider reducing it further.

A 30 percent salary cut is also what Quang Nam FC players have agreed to.

Meanwhile, players of Duoc Nam Ha Nam Ninh have said they have had no problems agreeing to a 25 percent cut in their salaries.

"We totally understand what the club is going through. The board has affirmed that when the V. League returns, we will be paid our full salaries again," said Nam Dinh goalie Dinh Xuan Viet.

Meanwhile, Hong Linh Ha Tinh has taken a different approach, applying a progressive system of salary cuts.

Ha Tinh President and General Director Nguyen Tien Dung said the salaries of board members and foreign players that are above VND30 ($1,276) million a month will be cut 30 percent. Players who get VND20-29 million ($850-1,233) will have their salaries cut 25 percent and those who get below VND20 million will have to take a 20 percent cut. This measure will be applied starting April.

"When the V. League is back, the club will adjust the payment back to ensure everyone’s benefit," Dung said.

Hong Linh Ha TInh in their opening game of V. League this season. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung.

The Hong Linh Ha Tinh team before their opening V. League game this season. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung.

No changes

On the other side, clubs that are well heeled have said they would pay players their full salaries. Hanoi FC and Viettel FC, two clubs in the capital city that have wealthy owners, are unlikely to have financial constraints even if the league remains suspended for a few more months.

Viettel FC, supported by telecom giant Viettel, has said it won’t let players face any difficulty during this period.

Hanoi FC is financially backed by the T&T Group, so they haven’t considered any salary cuts, at least not for April and May.

"Hanoi FC has a reserve fund, so it won’t affect us too much even if the league is postponed by one or two more months," said club president Do Vinh Quang.

Although Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) is not a wealthy club, they have decided to keep their players’ salaries intact.

"It’s true that we are not applying a salary cut, and are not considering it for the future even if the V. League’s postponement is extended. The salary of SLNA players is already very low, ranging from VND8-10 million a month. Only very few players in the team get VND20 million a month and even that’s not high compared to other teams. So if we reduce their wages even more, how can they survive during this time?" said Ho Van Chiem, CEO of SLNA.

Foward Phan Van Duc (in yellow) is currently the highest-paid player in SLNA with VND25 million a month. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.

Foward Phan Van Duc is currently the highest-paid player in SLNA with VND25 million ($1,064) a month. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.

SHB Da Nang had cut 20 percent of their players’ salaries during the economic crisis from 2008-2010, but they haven’t taken similar action this time.

Bui Xuan Hoa, SHB Da Nang President, said: "The players already lost their bonus when V. League 1 was suspended, so we shouldn’t cut down their salary further. They have families to feed. Not to mention that if players have their salaries reduced, other staff and employees of the club have to follow suit as well."

On average, Da Nang players’ wages are not high, at VND10-20 million a month. U21 players only receive VND2 million ($85) and when they make it to the first team, it increases to about VND7-8 million.

Another club, Hoang Anh Gia Lai, has affirmed that they won’t reduce the salary of their players. After V. League was temporarily closed, their players didn’t return home. They have quarantined themselves at the club’s training complex instead.

Becamex Binh Duong has also not cut players’ salaries, but has encouraged them to donate a part of their earnings to support Covid-19 prevention efforts in the country.

Other clubs like Than Quang Ninh and Hai Phong FC have said that they will consider salary cuts if V. League action doesn’t resume soon.

"At the moment, we are still keeping the same salary for players. However, in the current situation, business is not going well because of Covid-19, so we have to think about cutting wages in the future. The players should share this difficulty with the club," said Pham Thanh Hung, Than Quang Ninh President.

As things stand now, V. League 1 is set to return on May 23, a week after the National Cup qualification kicks off.

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