Dubai: Arsenal will once again be a precursor of sorts after their players accepted a pay cut to become the first English Premier League side to do so.
It may be recalled that the club management had earlier suggested a 12.5 per cent cut in wages for the players, and the Gunners had voted against this move last Monday.
However after deliberations, a majority of the players were in acceptance of the pay cut, although it came with a rider that they could stand to earn additional cash incentives depending on their qualifying for the Uefa Champions League or Europa League.
Friday’s talks concluded with the players agreeing to take a 12.5 per cent wage cut, along with an assurance that this amount would be reimbursed if they manage to qualify for Champions League either next season or a year later.
As per the agreement, the players will stand a chance of getting a £100,000 (Dh458,000) bonus for reaching next year’s Champions League. And further, they can earn another £500,000 for winning the 2021 Champions League or £100,000 for the Europa League title.
With 10 matches still remaining, Arsenal are in ninth place in the league standings with the season halted because of the coronavirus pandemic. Liverpool were headed towards a historic first Premier League title before the pandemic.
Liverpool are at the top of the standings with 82 points, while defending champions Manchester City are in second with 57 points. Arsenal are in ninth with 40 points, but just eight points separate the Gunners from fourth-placed Chelsea (48 points) and they are just five points adrift of fifth-placed Manchester United (45).
On Wednesday, the Arsenal executive team had set the tone for the players while agreeing to waive more than a third of their salaries over the next 12 months.
Arsenal also assured their fans that they will receive refunds or credits if the remainder of the matches are played behind closed doors or cancelled. Season tickets and single match-day tickets at Arsenal are among the most expensive in the league, meaning the Gunners face paying back more than most other clubs.