Arsenal have reached an agreement with their core coaching staff, head coach and players to voluntarily take a 12.5 per cent pay cut over the next year as the club looks to cut costs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Gunners are the first Premier League team to accept a pay cut, with Southampton, West Ham and Sheffield United all resorting to wage deferrals.
Discussions were ongoing for over a week between the club and the Arsenal players. The majority of the Gunners first-team reportedly favoured a wage deferral rather than a pay cut, but Arsenal announced on Monday that after “positive and constructive discussions” they had reached a “voluntary agreement.”
“In these conversations, there has been a clear appreciation of the gravity of the current situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a strong desire for players and staff to show their backing for the Arsenal family,” their statement on the pay cut reads.
We are pleased to announce that we have reached a voluntary agreement with our first-team players, head coach and core coaching staff to help support the club at this critical time.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 20, 2020
“Reductions of total annual earnings by 12.5 per cent will come into effect this month, with the contractual paperwork being completed in the coming days. If we meet specific targets in the seasons ahead, primarily linked to success on the pitch, the club will repay agreed amounts.
“We will be able to make those repayments as hitting these targets, which the players can directly influence, will mean our financial position will be stronger.”
Arsenal currently sit ninth in the Premier League table, eight points off a Champions League spot. According to the club, “the agreement is based on the assumption” that the 2019/20 season will be completed and that they will “receive the full broadcasting revenues.”
“The resulting savings will help cover some of the financial risks we have this season in relation to our matchday and commercial income. We are proud and grateful to our players and staff for pulling together to support our club, our people and our community in these unprecedented times which are some of the most challenging we have faced in our history.”
Although the majority of the first team have agreed to a pay cut, it is reported that three players have rejected it.
One of these three players is believed to be Mesut Ozil, who is the club’s highest-earning player on wages reportedly in the region of £350,000 a week. Ozil and his agent have, so far, refused to comment on the matter.
It looks like more English clubs could follow suit and resort to strict financial restrictions to help cope with the COVID 19 pandemic.
According to the Premier league’s chief executive, Richard Masters, there could be a financial loss of “at least £1billion” if the season does not finish.
Chelsea are also in talks with Frank Lampard and the first team over a suggested 30 per cent pay cut with players pushing for a 10 per cent reduction.