ARSENAL players have rejected a proposal from the club to only take a pay cut if they fail to qualify for the Champions League, according to reports.
Like all clubs, the Gunners are trying to work out how to reduce the financial impact of coronavirus.
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The Emirates side posted losses of £27.1million in February and 25 per cent of their revenue comes from matchday income.
So they were hopeful cutting back on their £230m annual wage bill – described by director Josh Kroenke as “a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget” – would help ease the burden.
Mikel Arteta’s side currently sit ninth on 40 points and eight adrift of Chelsea in fourth, with the season on hold until at least May.
However, due to Manchester City’s ban from Uefa competition for the next two seasons, as things stand fifth would be good enough for a place at Europe’s top table.
Arsenal were reportedly accused by the Etihad side of being the ring leaders in a ploy to ensure that ban is upheld in the event of the Court of Arbitration for Sport not being able to hear their case ahead of next season.
Manchester United occupy that fifth space with 45 points, with Wolves and Sheffield United their closest rivals two points further back.
Arsenal’s North London rivals have 41 with Burnley and Crystal Palace on 39.
The Gunners and Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United do have ten games left of the campaign, one more than the rest of the chasing pack.
But with a place in the Europa League, let alone the Champions League, still a long way from being guaranteed, the Arsenal players were seemingly unwilling to play ball.
The club have not competed in Uefa’s elite club competition since 2016/17 when they were thumped 10-2 by Bayern Munich in the last 16.
Premier League sides are currently trying to thrash out deals with players to work out how best to save money amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The league suggested a 30 per cent reduction in wages to players but this was rejected by the PFA who concluded that would mean £200m lost in tax revenue.
Newcastle, Norwich, Bournemouth and Tottenham have all furloughed members of their non-playing staff while Liverpool did so before making a sheepish U-turn.
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The 20 skippers — led by Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Manchester United’s Harry Maguire — rubber-stamped the groundbreaking plan, pledging “to make a real difference in distributing funds quickly to where it is needed most in this Covid-19 crisis”.
A spokesman for Arsenal said that nothing had yet been agreed by the club with its players.