Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many sports teams have taken to implementing pay cuts while league seasons remain on hold. Arsenal are the latest to do so, agreeing to a yearlong 12.5% salary cut with its players, head coach and staff, the club announced on Monday. The wage reduction will be implemented before the end of April.
According the statement, “the club will repay agreed amounts” as long as specific targets regarding the team’s success on the field are reached.
“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 statement read. “The agreement is based on the assumption we will finish the season 2019/20 and receive the full broadcasting revenues.”
The announcement comes after a few weeks of back and forth between the players and the club, and ultimately, manager Mikel Arteta’s intervention seemed to have made the difference. As The Athletic reported, Arteta had a long phone call with his squad on Wednesday night and encouraged them to agree to the club’s proposal while also stating that he’d support their decision regardless. Before conversations with Arteta, a majority of the first team was not willing to accept a sustained pay cut — instead, pushing for a deferral. Defender Hector Bellerin, who is also the club’s Professional Footballers’ Association representative, also reportedly played a big role in the discussions. According to ESPN, two players still refused to accept the voluntary agreement, but the rest of the team complied. The move is reported to save the club close to 20 million pounds.
Arsenal follows in the footsteps of other Premier League clubs like Southampton and West Ham and top European clubs like FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid in making cuts during this uncertain time.