Gunners continue 'productive' talks with players on pay

NO REVENUE: The Emirates. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Simon Peach

Arsenal will not be using the UK government's coronavirus job retention scheme as "productive" pay discussions with players continue during "one of the most challenging periods in our near 134-year history".

Tottenham and Bournemouth have recently followed Liverpool in reversing their controversial decisions to utilise the furlough system set up to help businesses survive during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Arsenal have confirmed they are not using that scheme in a statement that outlined their intention to pay staff in full during this uncertain period, while extending casual employees' wages until the end of May.

The club's executive team have voluntarily waived more than a third of their earnings over the next year to cope with a challenging time that owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment "are fully committed to supporting Arsenal through".

A statement from the Gunners read: "The suspension of football and the broader global economic impact of the virus mean that many of our revenue streams are on hold or are at risk.

"We have always aimed to operate on the basis that the money we earn is reinvested in the team, the wider club and invested into our community.

"The potential impact on our revenue streams puts our operating model under pressure.

"We know that this crisis will pass, and normality will resume, but timeframes cannot be known with any certainty.


"The potential financial impact is significant so we must be responsible and act now to best protect Arsenal from what might happen in the months ahead. What is clear is that this is one of the most challenging periods in our near 134-year history."

Arsenal have made it clear to employees through video conferences, newsletters and team meetings that they are "not considering redundancies", with all employees receiving their full salaries.

The club intend to continue on that track and say they are not currently intending to use the British government's furlough scheme.

The Gunners are still working on an agreement with players.

Arsenal's squad this week reportedly rejected a 12.5 per cent pay cut for a year, with that money repaid if qualification was secured for next season's Champions League.

"Our players have been keeping very busy during this difficult period, working hard at home on both their fitness and tactical work while training is suspended," Arsenal's statement read.

"Over the past 10 days we have been in discussions with them around the potential financial challenges ahead, and how we are planning for those now.

"These are productive and ongoing conversations around how our players might support their club in an appropriate way.

"We have not and will not make any comment on this matter until these private discussions have concluded."