FA Cup winners’ Arsenal have announced plans to cut dozens of jobs as the continuing coronavirus crisis takes a toll on revenues.
The Premier League club’s head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham used a joint statement to outline a series of pressures which are expected to drag on the club’s finances for the foreseeable future.
The decision follows the completion of the severely disrupted 2019/20 season that saw Arsenal finish 8th in the Premier League but secure Europa League football in 2020/21 following a 2-1 FA Cup final win over London rivals Chelsea.
That victory secured a welcome £3.6m prize, while Europa League qualification guarantees the Gunners a further windfall of at least £2.5m.
The club said it had been forced to begin consultations with staff over 55 proposed redundancies in a bid to reduce its cost base.
It includes a wage bill above £200m, though that sum was reduced through pay cuts agreed across the club at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Arsenal did not set out where the worst of the pain would be felt across its operations, but it is understood to be broad-based.
The announcement prompted a backlash by some fans on the club’s Twitter account.
Many called for players to take a wage hit to subsidise the roles being cut.
Others suggested owner Stan Kronke use his personal wealth to save the jobs.
One fan, Olivia Tierney, wrote: “He’s worth ($)8,300,000,000. 55 employees on, let’s be generous here, 50k a year. That’s 2.75 million. Stan Kroenke has therefore saved 0.03% of his net worth. What an embarrassment to the club.”
Ahead of the 2020/21 season, due to begin next month, the club statement explained that without a full fan base able to return to the Emirates Stadium because of continuing coronavirus restrictions, sacrifices would have to be made.
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.
“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.”