Dubai: Premiership giants Arsenal are in the middle of a possible showdown with their players as members of their senior team voted against a motion for a proposed 12.5 per cent cut in salaries on Tuesday. They, however, informed the club management that they are open to the option of deferring part of their wages to help lessen the financial burden and help keep all non-playing staff in their jobs throughout the shutdown.
The club, on the other hand, has insisted that the financial situation will be grave should the season be cancelled or resumed behind closed doors.
Executives and players have been attempting to come to an agreement over the past two weeks that would allow the North London club to mitigate their financial strain. There were incentives thrown in with the offer - including one which said that players would be paid in full - should they secure Uefa Champions League berth next season.
Had such an offer been accepted, it would have seen Arsenal save around $31m (Dhs 143.22 million) from their annual $286 million wage bill. It was, however, met with scepticism by the players even though the Gunners are currently sitting ninth in the Premier League table.
As per law, any proposal of a salary cut would have needed the support of three-fourths of the players but the players did not relent. The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) – with captain Hector Bellerin as the vital cog in the process – has advised players to reject all offers of wage cuts during the crisis, insisting that only offers of deferrals could be considered.
Arsenal is among the more self-sustaining clubs in the English Premier League with matchday receipts alone generating close to $125 million per season. The forecast now is that the club stands to lose around $15 million from gate revenue, should the rest of the season be played without fans.
With the siutation still in limbo, there is the likely prospect of a large part of next season also having to be played behind closed doors. There is also a looming threat of the clubs having to refund guarantee money from broadcast deals which have been already been paid out to them.