Arsenal are to make 55 redundancies due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the club’s finances, the club has announced.
In a statement issued by the club’s head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham, they pointed to severe drops in broadcast revenue as the main reason for the plan.
They also moved to assure supporters that investment into the team will continue despite the loss of jobs. The PA news agency understands the cuts will come across some football departments as well as commercial and administrative roles.
“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.
“Our main sources of income have all reduced significantly. Revenue from broadcasters, matchday and commercial activities have all been hit severely. 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. This is to ensure we are operating in a sustainable and responsible way. It will 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.”
Arsenal ensured another season of Europa League football with an FA Cup final win over Chelsea on Saturday.
While that will improve their financial footing, it has not proven enough to prevent the redundancies. The club have already restructured their stadium loan this summer.
“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,” the statement added.
“We know this is upsetting and difficult for our dedicated staff. Our focus is on managing this as sensitively as possible.
“These proposed changes are ultimately about ensuring we take this great football club forward, creating the right organisation for a post-Covid world, and ensuring we have the resources to return to competing effectively at the top of the game here and in Europe.”
Proposals meet with media backlash
Arsenal’s decision to make 55 of their staff redundant has been met with fierce criticism.
Here are a selection of tweets hitting out at the Gunners over the announcement.
55 redundancies planned at Arsenal.
Comes 48 hrs after club reportedly ready to begin talks to offer Cup Final hero Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a new £250,000-a-week contract https://t.co/pml8j5L0nz
— Dan Roan (@danroan) August 5, 2020
Arsenal have offered Willian a huge contract, for a player that is – maybe at best – a luxury.
How can you square that with redundancies, especially for employees on wages of around £40k a week.
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) August 5, 2020
Arsenal have announced they're to make 55 redundancies due to impact of coronavirus on finances.
Actually makes me sick they so easily wave goodbye to the common man! What about the £350k a week they're paying Mesut Ozil to sit on his backside. Outrageous
— James Marshment (@marshyleeds) August 5, 2020