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Gunner Thoughts

Arsenal Issues Statement on These Uncertain Times

The club issues a statement for fans that offers a certain amount of transparency into theirs fears over future financial uncertainty.

If there is one thing that Arsenal have been good at during this unprecedented time, it has been issuing statements to fans and supporters on their approach to these times.

In their most recent statement, they say:

“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.”

It is completely understandable that they have some financial worries during this time, as many clubs do. There is a long way to go before things are settled – ending the season, impeding wage cuts, shifts in scheduling, and many more aspects that have not made themselves clear. In the meantime, Arsenal declared their initial stance and intents on quite a few topics.

Wage Cuts

Arsenal made it clear that KSE is dedicated to supporting the club through this time including waiving “more than a third of their earnings over the next 12 months”.

There weren’t any details included in how that will work, or the structure of that agreement – will it be paid back when times are better, for example? But, I am not going to knock KSE for putting their best foot forward and leading by example in a world where other clubs have furloughed their employees and then reneged on that plan.

Next up will be players. Over the weekend a document was leaked that laid out Arsenal’s five-point plan, including a 12.5% wage cut for players. Included in their rejection of this offer, the players suggested their willingness to accept a cut to help protect other staff members. This reaction led to a mixture of anger from some fans and agreement from others. I, myself, sided more with agreement believing that it was early in the negotiations and that in the coming days or weeks the players would reach a mutual agreement with the club accepting a pay cut.

Arsenal confirm that these conversations are ongoing and productive as they discuss how players can support the club. With the revelation that KSE is in fact, now doing their part and taking a wage cut, the players will have to do their part as well. I respect the complexity of this situation given each player has different contracts but expect something to be reached and mutually agreed upon for the betterment of the club and its staff.

Casual Workers

The club announced they would be extending the timeframe in which they would pay their staff that is affected during this time of cancelled and suspended games.

“In addition to our employees, we are extending our commitment to pay casual workers on our payroll from the end of April to the end of May. For our matchday casual workers this means they will be paid for all four Premier League games that have been postponed and will be paid again should they work at these games once re-arranged.”

It’s great to see them continue their efforts on this aspect as clubs around them go back and forth. This doesn’t guarantee payment throughout the course of this suspension so they can alter this and opt for furloughing employees in the future, but for now it is good to see workers receiving pay.

Tickets and Community

With the Premier League’s intent to complete the season in some capacity, Arsenal assured fans that their tickets would still be valid once the matches are re-arranged.

It was added that “If any matches are re-arranged with fans not in the stadium or any matches are cancelled entirely, those that have bought tickets for these games, whether as part of a season ticket or for an individual match, will be offered a credit for next season or a refund. Further details will be shared at the appropriate time.”

Obviously, this makes sense give the likelihood of games being played behind closed doors if the league is truly intent on finishing the season in a timely manner.

“Victoria Concordia Crescit”. Victory grows through harmony. As wages negotiations continue and the club looks to navigate these choppy waters together, that saying will be truly tested from a club, player, and fan perspective. Let us hope it is remembered as times becoming even more trying. It truly will take us all working together to get through this, and fan’s reactions will have a role.

Stay home, save lives.

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