Great Britain

Arsenal looking to make 55 staff redundant due to Covid-19 impact despite Ozil sitting on £350,000-a-week

ARSENAL are set to make 55 staff redundant as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

And fans online were quick to question the morals of multi-billionaire owner Stan Kroenke and Mesut Ozil who sits on £350,000-a-week.

The North Londoners are owned by mega-rich American sports tycoon Kroenke whose net worth is a staggering £6.31BILLION - which is 10,286 times Ozil's weekly wage.

And Ozil, 31, refused to take the 12.5 per cent pay cut Mikel Arteta and the majority of his players and staff took at the end of April.

But despite the vast amount of wealth in the upper echelons of the club, they are still cutting jobs at the bottom.

The Gunners head of football Raúl Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham published a statement to fans on their website today.

It read: "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.

"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."

Fans recently flew a "Kroenke Out" banner over Arsenal's defeat at Villa Park.

And supporters online reacted in angry fashion to this latest decision by the Gunners' hierarchy.

One wrote: "If the jobs are genuinely redundant, it is what it is but if, as I suspect, we’re letting people go as a cost saving measure to pinch a few grand here & there, it’s f***ing rank given how much money our owners are worth."

Another disgruntled user tweeted: "55 job losses to celebrate the FA Cup win whilst Mesut Ozil is on £350k-a-week. Could never be my club."

And another added: "Only makes the Ozil situation that much more depressing, seeing as his wages would comfortably support keeping those 55 jobs + others."

Before a particularly disappointed fan posted: "Mesut Ozil earns £350,000 and hasn't played a single game post-lockdown.

"Here we are, seeing Arsenal let go of 55 workers in one day. Nothing to be proud of."

Many simply called it pathetic.

Ozil, 31, is the highest-paid player at the Emirates.

The German international was one of three stars who decided against taking the cut.

He made it clear he may be willing to do it in the future and has respect for the decisions made by his teammates.

It remains unclear whether his stance has changed in light of today's statement from Arsenal.

FULL ARSENAL STATEMENT

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have been working hard to ensure that Arsenal Football Club emerges in a robust and strong position for the future.

In line with other football clubs and many other businesses operating in the sport, leisure and entertainment arena, we have been impacted directly by COVID-19.

Our main sources of income have all reduced significantly. Revenue from broadcasters, matchday and commercial activities have all been hit severely and these impacts will continue into at least the forthcoming 2020/21 season.

The pandemic represents one of the most challenging periods in our 134-year history and we have responded promptly by implementing wide-ranging measures to reduce our costs. Our players, senior football staff and executive team have volunteered pay cuts, we have stopped pretty much all of our capital spending, and our discretionary operating expenditure has been strictly controlled.

We have also received significant financial support from our owners, Kroenke, Sports & Entertainment in terms of refinancing our stadium debt.

These steps have all reduced the impact of the pandemic on the club and have helped us continue to maintain investment in the team. This will continue to be a key priority.

It is now clear that we will be facing more significant and longer-lasting reductions in our revenue than we all hoped. 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.

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.

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.

Raúl Sanllehi, Head of Football
Vinai Venkatesham, Managing Director

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