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Ozil among Three Arsenal Players to Refuse Squad Pay Cut

Publish Date:21/04/2020
Fact checked by: Mike McKean

Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil is apparently one of three players at the club who has refused to take the pay cut agreed to by coach Mikel Arteta and the squad.

The Gunners squad have agreed to take a 12.5% cut in wages to help the north London club cope with the financial effects of the Covid 19 pandemic.

German international Ozil is the club’s highest earner, taking home around £350,000 a week for his efforts in the red and white shirt.

Ozil is reportedly waiting to see what the full financial impact of the pandemic will be before he commits to the cut.

“Deferral is an option but not to agree a cut today when the clubs may still make the same profit as last year,” said his agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, earlier in April.

“What the exact financial impact is on the clubs, we can see three to six months later – but we can’t see it today.”

Arsenal agreed the pay cut with the playing staff after the move was initially rejected by players earlier this month.

Manager Mikel Arteta, who himself tested positive for Coronavirus in March, intervened in the dispute between the players and the club hierarchy.

His intervention is believed to have been crucial in swinging the majority of the squad behind the decision to accept the wage cut.

Future plans and financial repercussions 

Some of the lost wages will be repaid in the future, providing that the Gunners meet certain targets on the pitch in the years ahead.

“Reductions of total annual earnings by 12.5 per cent will come into effect this month, with the contractual paperwork being completed in the coming days,” an official Arsenal club statement read.

“If we meet specific targets in the seasons ahead, primarily linked to success on the pitch, the club will repay agreed amounts.”

The agreement is based on the assumption that the current season will be completed and the club will receive full broadcasting revenues.

The club has not benefited from a home gate since March 7, when they beat West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium.

Coincidentally, the Hammers are a club, along with Southampton, where players have agreed to wage deferrals.

The Gunners are the first club to have agreed an actual wage cut, however. Their official club statement also highlighted that these times are some of the most challenging that they have faced in their history.

The broader picture across the UK 

The decision comes after UK government Health Secretary Matt Hancock waded into a row about compelling Premier League football players to take pay cuts.

Many criticised Hancock’s remarks, among them Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, who has made a point of supporting community efforts in his native Sheffield to mitigate some of the social costs of the virus outbreak.

Maguire has been part of a community effort in his home city to deliver food parcels to people sheltering in isolation. His efforts have been just one of a number of efforts made by football players to help out as part of the #PlayersTogether initiative.

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