Arsenal have released a statement confirming the club’s first-team players and head coach Mikel Arteta have agreed to take a pay cut to aid the club during the financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The agreement will see the majority of Arsenal‘s first-team players and core coaching staff take a ‘voluntary’ cut of 12.5%, though the Gunners have agreed to repay any losses should the side hit key targets on the pitch.
“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,” a club statement reads.
“The move follows positive and constructive discussions. In these conversations there has been 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.
“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.
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
“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 season 2019/20 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 news comes after an intervention from head coach Arteta, with the north London side’s first-team squad having initially voted against taking cuts with a preference for wage deferrals.
David Ornstein – Football Correspondent for The Athletic – has revealed the influence Arteta had over the negotiations via video-call, the Spaniard determined for his side to show unity in an unprecedented situation after building momentum following his arrival as manager in December.
Breakthrough found on Thur when 13 in favour, 14 against reversed after Arteta stepped in via Wed squad call. Momentum built & while some prefer deferral until exact losses known + several felt undue pressure, it hasn’t been acrimonious @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/qnmzsY8A9l #AFC
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) April 20, 2020
Whilst the vast majority of the Arsenal squad have agreed to the pay cuts, highest earner Mesut Ozil is reportedly one player who has rejected the proposal.
According to a number of newspapers, including The Mirror, Ozil – who earns a reported £350,000-a-week – has rejected the opportunity to take a cut and is keen to see the ‘full financial impact’ of the coronavirus crisis before agreeing to a reduced salary.
The German – who is involved with a number of charity organisations – is claimed to be one of three first-team players to have refused a pay cut, and it is understood the midfielder wants his decision to be respected despite the current climate.