Arsenal have announced that players and coaches have reached an agreement over wage cuts, which will take effect this month.
The first-team squad, as well as head coach Mikel Arteta and his staff, have come to a voluntary agreement that will see their total annual earnings reduced by 12.5 per cent.
Certain amounts will be repaid if “specific targets” over the coming seasons are met, the club said.
In a statement released on Monday, the Gunners said there had been “positive and constructive discussions” at the club, in which there was “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”.
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
They said: “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.
“The agreement is based on the assumption we will finish the 2019-20 season and 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.”
The Premier League was suspended at the beginning of April “until it is safe and appropriate” to resume, with speculation suggesting matches will not return until at least the end of May.
Arsenal’s announcement came after Sheffield United confirmed boss Chris Wilder and chief executive Stephen Bettis would give up part of their wages and defer bonuses to help the club during the pandemic.
Wage cuts for Premier League teams have been the subject of contention in recent weeks after United Kingdom health secretary Matt Hancock said players should “take a pay cut and play their part”.
Those comments, which attracted accusations Hancock was singling out footballers for undue criticism, came shortly before Premier League players announced the creation of a charitable fund aimed at supporting frontline health services.
The #PlayersTogether campaign, created in partnership with NHS Charities Together, is aimed at generating financial aid through player contributions.
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