A statement issued on Wednesday announcing the job cuts explained that the club were taking several measures to address the drop in broadcast revenue endured throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with the numerous layoffs affecting the football, commercial and administrative departments of the team.
“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,” head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham said.
“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 club, who finished eighth in the 2019-20 Premier League season, also assured supporters that the drop in revenue won’t impact their dealings in the transfer market with boss Mikel Arteta understood to be running the rule over several transfer targets aimed at arresting the team’s slide in recent seasons.
Chelsea winger Willian, 32, is thought to be close to agreeing a deal to move to North London in a switch that would likely command a sizeable wage packet, as well as a signing bonus rumored to be in the region £10 million ($13.1 million).
In addition, talismanic striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also subject of a reported £250,000 per week ($328,000) contract extension to keep one of the league’s top goalscorers at the club.
However, the cutting of funds in several areas of the club – and the expenditure in others – has led some fans to question the financial planning of the team’s owner Stan Kroenke, who has a reported fortune of $8.3 billion (£6.3 billion), per Forbes. Kroenke’s personal wealth is also understood to have grown by around $400 million (£305 million) from January to April of this year.
“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 continued.
“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.”