Arsenal to cut 55 jobs due to financial damage from pandemic

Sports

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang holds the trophy celebrating with team mates players celebrate with the trophy after the FA Cup final soccer match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley stadium in London, England, Saturday, Aug.1, 2020. (Catherine Ivill/Pool via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal is cutting 55 jobs due to the financial damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen fans shut out of stadiums.

In a statement issued Wednesday, head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham pointed to severe drops in broadcast revenue.

They also moved to assure supporters that investment into the team will continue, despite the loss of jobs, which will come across some soccer departments as well as commercial and administrative roles.

“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,” Sanllehi and Venkatesham said in the statement. “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.

“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.”

Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League, which shut down from March until June due to the pandemic.

But Mikel Arteta’s side qualified for the Europa League by beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

While that will improve Arsenal’s financial footing, it has not proven enough to prevent the redundancies and the club have already restructured their stadium loan this summer.

“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,” the statement said. “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 organization 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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