Seven-time Slovakian football league champions MSK Zilina have been placed into liquidation as a result of financial troubles after the season was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The club have terminated the contracts of 17 players who refused the terms of a pay cut.
"The liquidator dismissed the players with the highest salaries and those whose contracts were finishing this summer or winter," the club said Monday in a statement.
"We let go of 17 players whose salaries were worth the most," Rastislav Otruba, the club's legal representative, told Slovakia's TASR news agency.
The club had asked players to take a temporary pay cut in order to try and compensate for financial losses after the season was interrupted.
"The proposal was to reduce our salaries by 80%, which was a lot," goalkeeper Dominik Holec wrote on his Facebook page Monday. He said he was "ready to negotiate" a pay cut but not to the extent of the one proposed.
"We received a proposal from the club and we didn't agree. We nevertheless wanted to reach a deal. We didn't know the club was going to declare itself insolvent," Miroslav Kacer, one of the players laid off, told local daily SME.
"Our 2020 budget is based on revenues we were counting on receiving this summer during the transfer period. Today, this amount will be in all likelihood close to zero," the club said.
However, MSK Zilina insisted they would still be able to finish the season if it was to eventually restart.
"The young players, who have shown willing and solidarity, will have their chances," read the club statement.
MSK Zilina are second in the Slovakian top flight. They won the last of their seven national titles in 2017.