Premier League’s Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia FC (UKM) have become the second side to slash players’ salaries since the suspension of the M-League on March 16 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
UKM players have agreed to take a pay cut of between 15 and 20 per cent depending on their wage scale, starting next month.
Being a team with one of the smallest budgets in the M-League, the move to slash salaries is indeed surprising as their players, mostly university students, do not earn a lot.
It is learnt that their local players earn between RM3,000 and RM5,000 a month while their foreign signings draw not more than US$3,000 (RM12,900).
The university team were initially having budget issues after UKM decided to reduce funding at the start of the year.
However, they managed to attract a few sponsors to stay afloat.
It is understood that their budget for the current season is about RM4 million.
UKM honorary secretary Fairus Shafie said the players understand the management’s situation as the M-League has been suspended since March 16.
According to Fairus, the move was necessary as the ongoing Movement Control Order (MCO) has also affected the clash flow of their sponsors.
“We have paid last month’s (March) salary in full. But for April, most of our our signings have agreed to take pay cuts.
“The players understand the situation we are all in at the moment. We are only slashing a maximum of 20 per cent of their pay.
“Those at the lower deck of the play scale will only be docked 15 per cent. This will only be done while the MCO is in effect, and is subject to discussion between both parties.
“I understand that the players have contracts, but this unprecedented situation is a challenging time for all parties and I appreciate their understanding.
“The sponsors are unable to help us at the moment because they, too, have been affected, so this is the best formula for the benefit of all,” he said.
For the record, Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) players and officials were the first to agree to a pay cut of 33 per cent.
UKM captain Asnan Ahmad said the decision to slash salaries is necessary.
“We have been informed of the pay reduction, and after this we’ll hold more discussions to find a win-win solution. Whatever decision taken must be made for the benefit of both parties, especially in these trying times.
“And I agree that discussions be held regularly between teams and players, so that a middle ground can be found,” said the defender.