Player wages should not fall after coronavirus pandemic, says Bale's agent

Player wages should not fall because of the coronavirus pandemic and the onus is on clubs to run themselves better, says agent Jonathan Barnett.

Barnett, whose clients include Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, feels players should not be the ones to pay the price for falling revenues after the Covid-19 crisis.

The future values of sponsorships, matchday income and television deals are uncertain after the global lockdown halted all top-level sport, but Barnett thinks players, who have short careers, are the star attractions needed to ensure football retains top billing.

"I don't see players' wages dropping, that is for sure," he told BBC Radio 4. "Most players are on contracts. What I do see is maybe clubs have to look at how they run their club a bit better.

"Fans come to see players play, no one comes to see the chief executive play, that [players] is what puts money on the table. It's not a question of players earning less because it is a short period of time to earn their money."

Barnett was asked if the days of huge transfer fees are over and while he acknowledged there would be an initial drop, he felt it was unlikely to last.

"I think in the short term [there will be a drop], but not in the long term," he said. "They [the huge transfers] will come back. Market values will come back." 

On the approach clubs should take, Barnett added: "You have just got to look at it sensibly and say, 'This year I can't afford to pay so I won't do it this year'. Act sensibly and pay what they can afford to pay. If they can't [afford to buy], they don't. Nobody is going to be forcing them. 

"They can offer for a player whatever money they can afford. If it is right for the player, it's fine. If not, then he stays where he is or goes somewhere else.

"After the next television deal they [clubs] will hopefully be in a better position, or once the fans start coming back they might be in a better position again to do it. Then their sponsorships go up and all these things come back."