According to the Mirror, Arsenal wrote to the first team squad this week asking them to accept a 12.5% pay cut for the next 12 months as the club looks to mitigate losses from the ongoing coronavirus situation. Various reports claim the terms were rejected.
Earlier this month, Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to ask players to take a 30% pay cut – a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals – in order to protect employees throughout the game with the current season unable to start until “it is safe and appropriate to do so”.
The PFA rejected the blanket proposal pointing out the cuts would hit the taxman hard at a time when emergency funding for the NHS has been stepped up. Since then, each club has taken on the responsibility of negotiating with their own players.
While some clubs have agreed on wage deferrals with their players, none have actually managed to persuade their players to take cuts.
Arsenal recorded losses of £27.1 million in the last financial year and are wary that failure to secure European football could cause serious damage to the club’s ability to compete for honours in the short and mid-term.
Having been knocked out of the Europa League and with eight teams above us in the Premier League, we have our work cut out if the season does get a chance to resume.
To incentivise the players, the club built a performance-based rebate into their proposal. Despite that, the Telegraph reported on Saturday that the offer was “a non-starter with many of the squad”.
The Mirror break the letter down into five key points:
- A 12.5% pay cut for 12 months from April 2020 to March 2021 (players paid in final week of each month so to start this month)
- The full amount is then refunded if Arsenal qualify for the Champions League
- If Arsenal do not qualify for the Champions League, no money is returned back
- If Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League, but qualify for the Europa League the cut becomes 7.5%
- If the season does not finish and/or Arsenal does not get full money from broadcasters then they will ask the players to find a “further solution”
This is an incredibly delicate situation for the club who are playing with so many known and unknown unknowns right now.
The Athletic (£) report that Arsenal’s stars are willing to agree to a wage deferral on the proviso that any player who is subsequently sold would be eligible for a refund when they leave. As things stand nobody actually knows when the transfer window might open or who might leave, so it’s hard to put a figure on potential rebates.
The report also claims that the club have asked for players to donate a week’s wages to help cover the salaries of lower-paid staff. Arsenal have promised to pay all matchday and non-matchday casual workers up until 30 April at which point they plan to review the situation.
Unable to sit around a table and actually discuss this situation face-to-face obviously makes this situation logistically difficult. As does the fact the people in charge of the club are looking to relay important financial information to players who, for the most part, are not financial experts. No doubt they, in turn, want to discuss things with their agents, lawyers and families. All of the above will slow things down even further.
In an interview with the BBC’s Football Focus that was broadcast yesterday, head coach Mikel Arteta, keenly aware of the importance of upholding the club’s image, said: “I’m very keen to see the outcome of this situation after the coronavirus and what type of club we are, what type of staff we are and the message we send to the world of who we are as a club.”
Many of us are wondering the same thing.