Arsenal were widely criticised on social media on Wednesday after announcing 55 staff are set to be made redundant due to the financial impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
With the first-team players earning as much as £350,000-a-week and the club’s owner Stan Krorenke worth a reported $8.3 billion, people have expressed their outrage that Arsenal are laying off so many employees in the middle of a recession.
Arsenal’s players and head coach Mikel Arteta agreed a 12.5% pay cut in April, while the club’s executive team also agreed to waive more than a third of their salaries over the next 12 months.
But in a statement on Wednesday, the north London outfit said they face "more significant and longer-lasting reductions in our revenue than we all hoped".
One of those employees set to be made redundant is the club’s head of international scouting Francis Cagigao, according to the Daily Mail.
Cagigao has been named as the scout responsible for discovering some of the club’s best players in recent times.
The 50-year-old, who has worked with the Gunners for two decades, scouted Cesc Fabregas when the midfielder was part of the Barcelona academy before recommending him to Arsene Wenger.
The Daily Mail also claim Cagigao was behind Arsenal’s move for exciting forward Gabriel Martinelli, who signed from Brazilian club Ituano, in 2019.
Furthermore, he also helped the Gunners to sign Hector Bellerin, who was part of the Barcelona youth setup.
As well as Cagigao, Arsenal have also informed Peter Clark, the club’s head of UK scouting, and fellow recruitment specialist Brian McDermott that they will also lose their positions.
The proposals will now enter a 30-day consultation period.
Raúl Sanllehi, the club's head of football and Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal managing director confirmed: “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have been working hard to ensure that Arsenal Football Club emerges in a robust and strong position for the future.
”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.
“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.
“The pandemic represents one of the most challenging periods in our 134-year history and we have responded promptly by implementing wide-ranging measures to reduce our costs.
“Our players, senior football staff and executive team have volunteered pay cuts, we have stopped pretty much all of our capital spending, and our discretionary operating expenditure has been strictly controlled.
“We have also received significant financial support from our owners, Kroenke, Sports & Entertainment in terms of refinancing our stadium debt.
“These steps have all reduced the impact of the pandemic on the club and have helped us continue to maintain investment in the team. This will continue to be a key priority.
“It is now clear that we will be facing more significant and longer-lasting reductions in our revenue than we all hoped.
“Current indications are that we will not have fans back at Emirates Stadium for the start of next season and fans will only be able to return in limited numbers after that. The global economic projections are also very negative.
“This will impact the disposable income of our fans, the money corporate clients have to spend on hospitality and sponsorship, and the ability for broadcasters to invest in TV rights.
“We all hope there will be no 'second wave' but we also need to accept that is one of the many uncertainties ahead of us and plan accordingly.
“Over recent years we have consistently invested in additional staff to take the club forward but with the expected reduction of income in mind, it is now clear that we must reduce our costs further to ensure we are operating in a sustainable and responsible way, and to enable us to continue to invest in the team.
“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.
“These proposed changes are ultimately about ensuring we take this great football club forward, creating the right organisation for a post-Covid world, and ensuring we have the resources to return to competing effectively at the top of the game here and in Europe.”
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