Soccer bosses to cut players’ pay

Facing financial ruin after the collapse of lucrative television broadcasting deals, Greek soccer clubs decided yesterday to slash players’ salaries, adding to the potential woes of a championship already on ice due to a club strike. The Association of Professional Football Clubs (EPAE) agreed to reduce all players’ pay packages by 20 percent, proposed reducing the number of teams in the top three divisions, and discussed setting up a company to negotiate all EPAE members’ TV and commercial rights. The players’ union (PSAP) had no immediate comment yesterday, but has called an emergency meeting for Monday which is expected to discuss strike action. Top players, who make up to 3 million euros a year, have shown little inclination to accept pay cuts, with AEK striker Demis Nikolaidis saying he would seek a transfer abroad in such an eventuality. The crisis followed the collapse last month of Alpha Digital TV, which had contracts with most of EPAE’s leading members. After the government refused to bail teams out, EPAE launched a monthlong strike at the end of September.