What is the minimum salary a LaLiga soccer player can earn in 2023?
Santi Cazorla has accepted a move to Oviedo where he will receive the minimum wage. Spanish clubs are required to meet certain labor conditions by LaLiga.
Santi Cazorla’s move to Oviedo was one of the surprise transfer news stories of the summer in Spain. The 38-year-old former Spain and Arsenal player has accepted a set of economic conditions to return to his homeland and to the club where he started his career. The midfielder has gone from one extreme to the other, taking a significant pay cut to return to the club he left 20 years ago. During the past three seasons, he has played in the Saudi Arabia Pro League with Al-Sadd, earning around €4 million a year. But will be earning a lot less than that in Oviedo, in Spain’s second tier.
Cazorla generously proposed himself to be paid the minimum salary that professional footballers based at clubs in the top two divisions of the Spanish league are allowed under LaLiga regulations. He has signed a one-year contract during which he will be paid €93,000 gross and has agreed to cede his image rights to the club while 10% of all proceeds from sales of his shirt will be donated to a fund to help Oviedo’s youth academy.
Cazorla’s case is unusual in that even though he himself requested a massive pay cut, LaLiga regulations state that any player that is transferred between clubs having recently played in any of the five major leagues, China or the United States, must receive a minimum of 50% of their previous salary. That however, no longer applies once player reach 36 years of age which is how Oviedo and Cazorla have managed to get around it.
Football is one of Spain’s most profitable industries. It generates billions of euros every year and creates thousands of jobs. The central pillar of this industry are those whose skills get the fans into the stadiums every weekend - the players.
The players’ contractual conditions are reviewed every year by LaLiga in collaboration with the Spanish Footballers’ Association (Asociación de Futbolistas Españoles - AFE) - the players’ union. Agreements have been renewed to improve working conditions in all areas for soccer players in Spain, and one area that has is always negotiated is the minimum salary received by players in the top two professional leagues.
The most recent agreement was reached in April this year, applied retroactively from 1 July 2022 to raise the minimum wage for players registered in both of the top two divisions in the Spanish league system.
What is the minimum salary of a LaLiga soccer player?
In LaLiga Santander, the top division in the Spanish league pyramid, the lowest annual salary a player can receive is €182,000 euros ($198,500) - an increase from the previous agreement, reached in 2016 (€155,000 euros/$158,000).
According to the collective agreement reached by LaLiga and AFE, this money is divided into 14 payments of €13,000 ($14,100) - one payment per month plus an extra payment in June and November. This is part of a deal that came into force in April 2023, and the minimum salary is subject to Spain’s Consumer Price Index (IPC), the inflation indicator published by the country’s National Institute of Statistics. If the IPC rises, so does the minimum wage.
What about players in Spain’s second division?
In the case of the second tier of Spanish professional soccer, the situation is completely different, since the figures that are paid out are much lower than those of LaLiga Santander. A Second Division player, in accordance with the LaLiga-AFE collective agreement, must be paid a salary of at least €91,000 ($99,150) per year: exactly half of the minimum wage paid to players in the Spanish top flight. This money is distributed as follows: it is administered in a total of 14 payments of €6,500 ($7,070), and, as in LaLiga Santander, it can be increased if there is a rise in the Consumer Price Index.
How many vacation days do soccer players have by agreement?
Another of the most significant aspects of the collective agreement is vacations that players can take. According to the document, soccer players have 30 paid rest days a year - unless they have been at the club for less than year, in which case they are due a proportionately lower number of days.
Of those 30 days off, “21 will be enjoyed consecutively and the rest when the parties agree”, the collective agreement says. If no agreement is reached, the full 30 days will be consecutive. It is also prohibited to substitute vacations for financial compensation.
Four dates during the festive season are respected as days which are exempt from the fixtures calendar and considered holidays: 24 December, 25 December, 31 December and 1 January.
The AFE has introduced other allowances for players who signed long-term contracts - those who have spent five or more seasons at the same club and have their contract terminated will be eligible for economic benefits. Meanwhile, players could receive compensation payments of up to €200,000 euros for suffering incapacitating injuries that put their career at risk or death.
How long does the agreement last?
The current agreement, which is published in Spain’s Official State Bulletin (BOE), has been extended until 30 June 2026. “This Collective Bargaining Agreement shall be extended in its entirety for successive periods of four years if it is not denounced, by any of the parties, at least six months before the date of its termination or that of any of its extensions,” the document states.
What is the minimum wage for players in the Women’s league?
In the Liga F, the top division of the women’s football league in Spain, salaries are much much lower. The 2019 agreement set the minimum wage for a Liga F player at 16,000 euros ($17,400), which works out at monthly payments of €1,140 ($1,240) in 14 payments. No progress has been made since then.
In April this year, the AFE proposed a minimum salary of 25,000 euros. However, Liga F players issued a statement through the five syndicates that represent women’s football (FUTPRO, AFE, FutbolistasOn, CCOO and UGT), rejecting the proposal. The syndicates are calling for a minimum wage of 30,000 euros, in a five-year agreement applied retroactively from 2020. Negotiations continue...