The Gunners have advised their stars that the financial situation at the club will be grave should the season be cancelled or resumed in the back of closed doors.
Arsenal’s players have rejected the latest proposal aimed at slashing the club’s wage bill during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Executives and players have been trying to secure some kind of settlement throughout talks over the past fortnight, which would allow the north London club to reduce their financial outlay whilst soccer is suspended in the country.
Several options have been discussed, but so far none have been met with sufficient approval to be put into action.
The idea of a 12.5 per cent wage reduce – which would last for a year – was once put to the senior squad over the weekend, with Arsenal making it clear to the players that the financial situation at the club would be grave should the season not be finished or if it were to be completed in the back of closed doors.
There were incentives included in the offer, including one which stated that the players would be paid in full should they secure Champions League soccer subsequent season.
Had that offer been accepted, it would have seen Arsenal reduce around £25 million ($31m) from their annual £230m ($286m) wage bill. It was, however, met with scepticism by the players with the Gunners presently sitting ninth in the Premier League.
A vote on the offer was held amongst the squad on Monday and – as first said by The Telegraph and since confirmed to Goal – it has been rejected.
For the proposal to have been given the go-ahead, it would have needed the support of 75% of the players, however it is understood that whilst some would agree to the cuts, the figure was nowhere near high enough for it to be accepted.
The decision comes after the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) cautioned players to reject all offers of wage cuts at some stage in the crisis, insisting that only offers of deferrals have to be taken into consideration.
There is an understanding at Arsenal that the players are open to the alternative of deferring part of their wages to assist lessen the economic burden on the club, especially if that would assist to keep all non-playing group of workers in their jobs at some stage in the shutdown.
But there is a sense of mistrust that the ownership may additionally be using the state of affairs as a way to lessen a wage bill that has become increasingly problematic following three seasons outside of the Champions League.
Last summer Josh Kroenke – son of owner Stan – responded to developing fan criticism over a lack of action in the transfer market by singling out the problem of player wages.
“It’s no secret that we have a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget right now,” he stated in a letter obtained by The Press Association. “That’s a fact. And one that we’re figuring out how to face internally at the moment.”
And with Arsenal now dealing with up to another season in the Europa League – or probably without European soccer altogether – that state of affairs is only going to get worse. It has now been magnified in addition by the Covid-19 pandemic.
With soccer now suspended, and the potential of last fixtures going at the back of closed doors, Arsenal are going through big financial losses just a matter of months after they announced an operating loss of £27.1m ($34m) for the year 2018-19.
The Gunners generate close to £100m ($125m) from matchday earnings per season and are forecast to lose around £12m ($15m) in terms of gate income should the rest of the campaign be played without fans present.
And so with the prospect of a massive chunk of subsequent season additionally having to be played at the back of closed doors, Arsenal view wage cuts as a necessity to ensure the club can get through such unsure times. There is also the very real chance of having to pay back cash from broadcast offers that have already been handed out to Premier League clubs.
Negotiations with the players – which have so far been held via PFA representative Hector Bellerin – will now continue aimed at finding a manageable solution.