ROME (Reuters) – Wage cuts for footballers should not be ruled out as the sport tackles the effects of the stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the head of Italy’s soccer federation (FIGC) said on Wednesday.

Italy has emerged as the worst-hit country outside China with over 35,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and nearly 3,000 deaths.

Serie A was the first of the big five European leagues to be suspended and the stoppage is expected to last for weeks or months, causing significant damage to clubs’ revenues.

“It can’t be taboo to talk about salary cuts,” FIGC president Gabriele Gravina told Radio 24.

“We must understand that the emergency applies to everyone and our world must also have the ability to change. We have been called upon to make gestures of great responsibility.”

In reply, the head of the Italian Players’ Union Damiano Tommasi said “the sustainability of the football system during and after this global crisis is obviously of extreme interest to all those who live in this system, including footballers”.

“We all have an interest in preserving the economic balance and for this very reason we must evaluate all the elements of the moment,” he told ANSA news agency.

“Lack of revenue, postponement of competitions, cancellation of events, government contributions, federal aid, support from international institutions. All of these elements will affect the players.”

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)

All copyrights for this article are reserved to The Star