Arsenal players will get back 5 per cent of their reduced salaries following their FA Cup triumph and qualification for the Europa League next season.
Senior members of Mikel Arteta’s squad agreed a 12.5 per cent reduction in wages to help the club cope with the coronavirus pandemic which has prevented fans coming through the turnstiles at the Emirates Stadium and other stadiums.
Under the terms of their agreement, almost all players waived the portion of their earnings up to March 2021 but it would be lowered to 7.5 per cent should they qualify for Europe, as the club would receive prize money and TV income from UEFA.
Arteta, who played a key role in players accepting the terms, needed victory at Wembley against Chelsea on Saturday to secure a Europa place after finishing eighth in the Premier League.
Emiliano Martinez, the Arsenal goalkeeper, was filmed in the tunnel after the 2-1 victory saying “I don’t care about the money” in a reference to players now have their pay reductions lowered.
At Manchester United, players were also rewarded when they got into the Champions League, with their standard contracts seeing 25 per cent reductions when they fail to reach Europe’s elite competition.
Covid-19 saw clubs looking to negotiate pay deferrals with their players to limit the impact of fans not being able to attend games due to the spread of the virus.
Arsenal’s executive team gave up “more than a third of their earnings over the next 12 months” to help the club through the crisis. “The suspension of football and the broader global economic impact of the virus mean that many of our revenue streams are on hold or are at risk,” said Arsenal in a statement at the height of the pandemic.
This weekend, Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has warned the impact could last beyond this season.
“All the big European clubs have been impacted by this and we are all working to adapt,” he said. “This won’t be for just one year, it could be for up to three or four years.”