The shutdown of soccer in Switzerland has cost two former Arsenal players their jobs.
After reportedly refusing to take a paycut, FC Sion in the Swiss Super League announced that it had fired nine players, including defender Johan Djourou and Alexandre Song. Also included is Swiss National Team midfielder Pajtim Kasami, Ivory Coast forward Seydou Doumbia, and club captain, Xavier Kouassi. Kouassi also formerly played for the New England Revolution.
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According to a report in Switzerland newspaper Blick with quotes from Djourou, the players were asked to sign new contracts, with less than 24 hours notice, that would have significantly cut their wages. The report states the players were asked to sign a contract that would have provided them a maximum of 12,350 francs, or around $12,521 in salary. It’s unclear whether that’s a yearly salary or monthly, though it’s the same as the maximum available in unemployment insurance.
According to Djourou, the players as a whole rejected the request from upper management, but it ended with nine players losing their jobs. Internally, Djourou said, the players had discussed donating some wages to the staff, as the whole club struggles in this crisis. Djourou only joined Sion in January and played just once before suffering another injury.
The Swiss Super League has been suspended since March 1, when the Swiss government banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people in response to the spread of the new Coronavirus.
Song and Djourou were teammates at Arsenal between 2005 and 2012.