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Guingamp & Bafana Bafana's Phiri sheds light on life under lockdown and wage cut possibilities

18:12 EAT 24/03/2020
EA Guingamp, Lebogang Phiri
France is under lockdown just like many other European countries with football action suspended

Guingamp and South Africa international midfielder Lebogang Phiri has described how he is surviving and dealing with salary cut possibilities in France, where they are living under lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

With French football currently suspended, just like many other European leagues, players are spending their time indoors following individual training schedules.

Bafana Bafana midfielder Phiri says they are not allowed to go out without written consent from authorities with France being one of the most affected countries in the world as per World Health Organisation data.

“It’s been really tough especially for us as foreigners because we are on our own in a foreign country and not able to interact with the normal world,” Phiri told Marawa Sports Worldwide on Metro FM.

“Each and every time you get out of your house you should have a document that states whether you are going to the grocery store or pharmacy and you are limited to certain things ....but other than that we are not allowed being outside.

“If they found you without documentation you have to pay a fine of €130 or something like that.

“Just like today [Monday] I went out for a jog and of course I had to sign a document stating what I was going to be doing outside. You are only allowed to be within a kilometre outside your home and exceeding that then you have to face some charges.”

Back home in South Africa, Phiri’s compatriots have adopted similar lockdown measures in dealing with the coronavirus.

“Of course, I think it is only the right thing for them to do at this point,” Phiri said.

“I think it is something we should support as a people and especially back home as well, campaigning about it as well.

"We need to inform one another on the importance of health. It is a virus that can kill and injure many. It is something we should take health precautions regarding.”

Unlike some clubs who have had their players or staff infected by the coronavirus, no teammate or anyone at Guingamp has been confirmed as having contracted the virus.

But what could be of major concern to most football clubs are the losses incurred due to non-activity during this period.

Already, some clubs are proposing salary cuts for players with Swiss side Sion sacking nine players, including five African footballers, for refusing to have their wages downwardly reviewed.

“In terms of salary I think we have this thing [clause] whereby if you are not working for a certain period you get deductions on your salary,” Phiri continued.

“But I am not sure with our club because as of now we are still getting 100 percent of our salary but we can end up getting to deductions of 84 percent. It’s something we haven’t yet been told about.

“Of course, it’s tough. Financial constraints are always tough on anybody, whether you are an athlete or a person working in a pharmacy.

"It’s really tough. But at this moment we should just think about our lives because that is the most important thing.

"Staying at home and not working could be tough but if we have to do that to make sure that we save our lives and have healthy lives, it is something that needs to be done.

"We have to do something about it.”