The coronavirus pandemic has hit the sports industry hard, and football seems to be one of the disciplines to start taking action in regards to the financial damage caused by the pandemic.
A report by Associated Press earlier today revealed that Arsenal Football Club would be cutting 55 jobs and remove redundancies because of the pandemic. One of the main reasons is that fans are not coming to stadiums, and that is a loss to the club.
Statement from the club
Head of football, Raul Sanllehi, and managing director Vinai Venkatesham issued a statement highlighting the laid down rules, expectations, and prospects that are being put in place. They have assured supporters that the investment into the team will not stop even though they will no more have their jobs. But that will only come across some soccer departments as well as commercial and administrative roles.
According to the statement released, the impact of the pandemic could last until the 2020-21 season. “In line with other football clubs and many other businesses operating in sport, leisure and entertainment arena, we have been impacted directly by COVID-19” the statement read.
“Our main sources of income have all reduced significantly. Revenue from broadcasters, matchday, and commercial activities have all been hit severely, and these impact will continue into at least the forthcoming 2020-21 season.”
The club admits to investing in additional staff over the years. Still, with the way things are going on recently, some people need to go for them to “operate sustainably and responsibly” and to enable them to continue to invest in the team. Indeed, fans, commercials, the media are the money makers for sports, and if they are not available, it gets worse.
The club’s activities were shut down from March till June, and they finished eighth in the premier league. The club did qualify for the Europa League by beating Chelsea in the FA cup final, which might improve their finances a little bit, but it’s not enough to prevent the 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 products. 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, 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.”
Some players, senior football staff, and the executive team were known to have already volunteered to take pay cuts, capital spending stopped, and discretionary operating expenditure has tightened. The club has also received some financial support from its owners, Kroenke sports and entertainment in terms of helping to refinance the stadium’s debt
But all of these efforts seem not to be enough. The club could still fall apart if care isn’t taken.
What’s next for Arsenal?
Some fans suggest that Kroenke should sell some of the club’s shares to help support the staff. Others think it was very unreasonable for players to take a pay cut if it wasn’t guaranteed to be given to the staff. It is in others’ opinion that sports, as a whole, should be put on hold until this pandemic is over. Not only are they risking the lives of players and staff, but it’s crippling sports little by little
It’s a good thing they are trying to bring sports back, but at what cost? These are dedicated workers that are going to be laid off, isn’t it something they should be concerned about? They are not the only people laying off workers. The NBA and Athletes have also cut off some workers. This can be prevented if we wait for some time, but well, when situations change, we must learn to adjust to it.
These changes should serve as a lesson to us, for us to plan ahead of the future, if Arsenal had planned, they wouldn’t have over-employed people, they wouldn’t need to cut of their workers now but what do we blame? The pandemic.