16:00 GMT19 January 2021
Listen Live
    Sport
    Get short URL
    318
    Subscribe

    A national shutdown introduced by the government amid the coronavirus pandemic currently spreading across the UK and the world has led to many employees being furloughed or unemployed. As large-scale sporting events are cancelled, professional athletes are also being told that they should accept pay reductions.

    Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has refused to participate in a pledge by some club members to take a 12.5 percent pay cut, the Mirror reported on Monday.

    Ozil, the highest earner on the team at £350,000-a-week, said he would be willing to consider taking a cut at a later date but not before observing the full economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Three other players in the squad have also refused to take a pay cut.

    The German footballer said that he respects the other players and their decision to lower their pay, and has asked them to respect his as well.

    “Deferral is an option but not to agree [to] a cut today when the clubs may still make the same profit as last year. What the exact financial impact is on the clubs, we can see three to six months later - but we can’t see it today", Ozil’s agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, said earlier this month.

    “It is not enough for a club to present a proposal to one member of the first-team squad and then ask them to go to the rest of the squad and get their consent to do it", Sogut said, speaking on the Steilcast podcast.

    “A club may even ask a first team manager to negotiate with players and this may influence some, particularly younger players or those on the fringe who fear there might be personal repercussions for him if he does not agree".

    Sogut questioned whether the agreement would be legally binding, due to some players not being able to give true consent due to pressure.

    Sogut's comments align with demands from the Professional Footballers’ Association that Premier League clubs should ask for deferrals, as opposed to pay reductions.

    Arsenal is the first club to accept pay reductions for players, agreeing to take a 12.5 percent drop until March 2021, following ten days of discussion which initially saw team members reject the idea.

    The club issued a statement on Monday confirming that the arrangement had been made.

    ​“We are proud and grateful to our players and staff for pulling together to support our club, our people and our community in these unprecedented times which are some of the most challenging we have faced in our history", they said.

    The club has promised to repay the money in full if they make the Champions League either this season or the next, as well as a £100,000 bonus payment. It was also offered that any player who is sold will see a full refund.

    If they make the Europa League, they will receive 7.5 percent of the docked wage returned, according to reports.

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta's intervention in a video conference call last Wednesday helped convince the players that the club needed financial help.

    Arteta also agreed to a wage reduction, and Arsenal's 14-man executive committee announced their own 30 percent pay cut.

    The decision by Arsenal follows demands by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who at the beginning of April called on professional footballers to 'play their part' and take a pay cut amid widespread wage reductions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Related:

    Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil Seen Training for First Time Since ‘Gang War’ Incident
    Erdogan Photo-Op: Mesut Ozil Defends Support for Turkish President Despite German Backlash
    Is Mesut Ozil Set to Return to Arsenal Squad?
    Tags:
    Arsenal, coronavirus, COVID-19, unemployment, wage, football
    Community standardsDiscussion