Arsenal have announced they are proposing 55 redundancies due to the ‘significant and long-lasting’ financial implications caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The north London club, whose owner Stan Kroenke’s wealth is estimated at £6.3 billion ($8.3bn), confirmed the news in a joint statement released by head of football, Raul Sanllehi and managing director, Vinai Venkatesham on Wednesday afternoon.
“We do not make these proposals lightly and have looked at every aspect of the club and our expenditure before reaching this point,” said the statement. “We are now entering the required 30-day consultation period on these proposals.
“We know this is upsetting and difficult for our dedicated staff and 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.
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“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.”
When lockdown began in March and football was suspended, Arsenal refused to use the Government’s furlough scheme and continued to pay their full-time staff, despite the club’s key revenue streams all drying up.
The money they would usually have received for 2020-21 season tickets has not come in and nor has matchday income – which accounts for 24% of Arsenal’s annual revenue.
Refunds, which worked out at over £2m ($2.6m) per match, had to be given for the four homes games that were played behind closed doors following the restart and there is still no clarity over when fans will be allowed back inside stadiums once again.