Arsenal announce 55 redundancies but first-team investment still a 'key priority'

By Peter Hanson 5 August 2020 11
Arsenal announce 55 redundancies but first-team investment still a 'key priority'

Arsenal plan to make 55 members of staff redundant due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic but said investing in the first team remains a "key priority".

Back in April, the Gunners announced the majority of the squad had agree to take a 12.5 per cent wage cut, while the club's executive team were to waive a third of their pay for a year.

Winning the FA Cup secured a place in next season's Europa League and could reportedly earn Arsenal an additional £30million.

But the club said they are counting the cost of a loss of matchday revenue for the foreseeable future, with fans not expected through the gates when the Premier League returns in September.

Numbers are then likely to be strictly limited as and when spectators are given the green light.

A lengthy statement from head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham said the knock-on effect of this is cuts need to be made.

"In line with other football clubs and many other businesses operating in the sport, leisure and entertainment arena, we have been impacted directly by COVID-19," the statement read.

"Our main sources of income have all reduced significantly. Revenue from broadcasters, matchday and commercial activities have all been hit severely and these impacts will continue into at least the forthcoming 2020-21 season.

"The pandemic represents one of the most challenging periods in our 134-year history and we have responded promptly by implementing wide-ranging measures to reduce our costs. Our players, senior football staff and executive team have volunteered pay cuts, we have stopped pretty much all of our capital spending, and our discretionary operating expenditure has been strictly controlled.

"It is now clear that we will be facing more significant and longer-lasting reductions in our revenue than we all hoped. Current indications are that we will not have fans back at Emirates Stadium for the start of next season and fans will only be able to return in limited numbers after that. The global economic projections are also very negative. 

"This will impact the disposable income of our fans, the money corporate clients have to spend on hospitality and sponsorship, and the ability for broadcasters to invest in TV rights.

"We all hope there will be no 'second wave' but we also need to accept that is one of the many uncertainties ahead of us and plan accordingly. 

"Over recent years we have consistently invested in additional staff to take the club forward but with the expected reduction of income in mind, it is now clear that we must reduce our costs further to ensure we are operating in a sustainable and responsible way, and to enable us to continue to invest in the team.

"Our aim has been to protect the jobs and base salaries of our people for as long as we possibly can. Unfortunately, we have now come to the point where we are proposing 55 redundancies.

"We do not make these proposals lightly and have looked at every aspect of the club and our expenditure before reaching this point. We are now entering the required 30-day consultation period on these proposals. "

Arsenal said the measures taken will help to invest in a team that finished eighth in the Premier League last season.

The club hope to persuade Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, one of their leading earners, to pen an extended contract, while Brazil international Willian has been mooted as a possible new recruit on a free transfer from Chelsea.

"We have also received significant financial support from our owners, Kroenke, Sports & Entertainment in terms of refinancing our stadium debt," the statement added.

"These steps have all reduced the impact of the pandemic on the club and have helped us continue to maintain investment in the team. This will continue to be a key priority." 

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