Arsenal announce that 55 positions are considered redundant as they cope with losses from COVID and the economic fallout from the pandemic.
The season has ended, the FA Cup is over, and one thing it may have done more than anything else is distract from financial and economic struggles that clubs, the game, and the general population are facing.
In today’s statement, Arsenal brought many back to the realities that companies across the world are facing when they announced the ongoing struggles from a lack of revenue still exist:
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.Arsenal.com
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.
So what is the fallout? What is the next step? Letting go 55 people.
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.
The idea that these positions may be attached to matchday staff that wont be needed if there aren’t fans allowed in the stadium is very possible, but as was suggested by Arseblog on twitter, “55 jobs at, let’s say an average £50,000 a year, is £2.75m.”
It’s simplified numbers, but the point certainly still stands. We are talking about a figure that is likely no more than £3m, and this is where it gets a bit frustrating from the standpoint of everyone being human beings, trying to get by in this time.
We may be tired of the “we are owned by a BILLIONAIRE” argument and the fact that £3m would hardly be noticed from the £372m that was suggested his wealth went up during this period, but when the club very intentionally places the statement, “We have also received significant financial support from our owners, Kroenke, Sports & Entertainment in terms of refinancing our stadium debt” as a pretty intentional way to try to suggest KSE are already doing “so much”, it’s going to be brought up.
To go one step further, we have spent the last few days celebrating the win of the FA Cup and the boost in monetary funds that it promised. We have conversed for months with one another about how the Europa League would bring a boost of cash to the club. Help cover losses, help bring in players, or just help. On top of that, it was pitched that reaching Europa League would reduce the amount that players had their wages cut and funds would be returned, presumably because the club would get financial relief.
According to one journalist, this wont have any effect on Arsenal transfers, which also feels a bit odd. As much as I want new players and a rebuilt squad, it will feel a bit low to see Willian receive his “handsome signing bonus” after this.
Is this how the world of business goes? Yes, probably. And I can completely believe that this is “the smart business move”, but in a world where lots of people are struggling, evictions are coming left and right, people are scraping by in anyway they can, it’s hard believe every option and path to avoid this was navigaated.
I understand, 100%, that Kroenke’s wealth is different than having money laying around. I don’t believe someone showed up to Stan’s ranch with a duffle full of the £372m when his wealth went up, but someone with the ability to increase their wealth by that much over the course of 90 days, surely has access to avenues that would have allowed him to pitch in and help out those in great need.
Whether this was always coming, or completely avoidable, only the club will know, but it will sully the moment of celebration just a bit and will continue make my stomach drop a bit when we go on to sign up players with millions.