English Premier League side, Arsenal, have proposed to sack 55 employees blaming the decision on financial challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This announcement is coming three days after the club beat fellow London side, Chelsea 2-1 last Sunday to lift the FA Cup for a record 14th time and ultimately securing a place in the Europa League next season.
The FA Cup champions in a statement posted on their website Wednesday afternoon said it has become clear that they will we will be facing more significant and longer-lasting reductions in revenue than expected.
“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,” it added.
The statement jointly signed by Raul Sanllehi, Head of Football and Vinai Venkatesham, Manageing Director, acknowledged that it has received significant financial support from its owners, Kroenke, Sports & Entertainment in terms of refinancing its stadium debt while players, senior football staff and executive team have volunteered pay cuts with all capital spending stopped, but regretted that stronger measures were needed to keep the club financially afloat.
The statement said: “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.
“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”
The club explained that its main sources of income have reduced significantly as revenue from broadcasters, matchday and commercial activities have all been hit severely, with the impacts likely to linger into the new 2020/21 season which kicks off in September.
The statement also reads: “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.”