Piers Morgan has savaged Arsenal and their multi-billionaire owner over the decision to layoff 55 staff amid the coronavirus crisis.
Less than a week after winning the FA Cup and as they negotiate a multi-million dollar contract extension with striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal announced plans to layoff 55 staff.
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The club said on Wednesday that the cuts were the result of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement sparked an immediate social media backlash from fans contrasting the huge sums involved with keeping key players to the lost jobs of staff at the north London outfit.
And high-profile media commentator Morgan was among those outraged, taking aim at Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke and star player Mesut Ozil.
“Arsenal firing 55 staff when we’re owned by a multi-billionaire, have just made £££ by winning the FA Cup & qualifying for Europe, & pay Mesut Ozil £350k-a-week to sit on his a**e, is morally indefensible & not what I expect from a club with our heritage,” he tweeted.
Arsenal firing 55 staff when we're owned by a multi-billionaire, have just made £££ by winning the FA Cup & qualifying for Europe, & pay Mesut Ozil £350k-a-week to sit on his arse, is morally indefensible & not what I expect from a club with our heritage. Shameful decision. pic.twitter.com/ml3ixSyq97
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 6, 2020
Kroenke and Ozil under fire over Arsenal decision
Arsenal are owned by American sports tycoon Kroenke, whose net worth is reported to be around $11.4 billion.
“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 said in a statement.
The club said they had done all they could to reduce costs, including players, senior staff and executive team members taking voluntary pay cuts, adding: “but it is now clear that we must reduce our costs further to ensure we are operating in a sustainable and responsible way.”
“We do not make these proposals lightly and have looked at every aspect of the club and our expenditure before reaching this point.
“We have also received significant financial support from our owners, Kroenke, Sports & Entertainment in terms of refinancing our stadium debt.
“These steps have all reduced the impact of the pandemic on the club and have helped us continue to maintain investment in the team. This will continue to be a key priority.”
Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League but their record 14th FA Cup triumph last Saturday ensured another year of European football and the possibility of earning up to $70 million in the Europa League.
Fans have already been incensed by the fact that the club pay former Germany international Ozil, who has not played since before lockdown, around $620,000 a week, with reference to his salary a common theme in hundreds of posts from disgruntled supporters.
Arsenal are also bidding to lure Chelsea forward Willian to the club, also on a huge weekly wage, while local media reports this week say they are offering striker Aubameyang a $540,000-a-week deal to extend his contract.
The blame for this is not with @MesutOzil1088 It is clearly & absolutely with the greed driven, ruthless Kroenke family who dont give a fig for @Arsenal its employees or fans. They only care about it as a money making commodity. There is no need to lose 55 staff. #Scandalous
— Gary Webster (@RealGaryWebster) August 5, 2020
Arsenal are making 55 redundancies. Given the amount of money we're paying players and the amount we'll probably spend in the summer this is disgusting (oh and let's not forget the owner is a billionaire).
The only person who should be leaving this club is Stan Kroenke. https://t.co/MyoPtuPAt0
— Chris Godfrey (@ChrisPJGodfrey) August 5, 2020
This is honestly so disgusting. Stan Kroenke is a multibillionaire and could easily cover these costs and wouldn’t even notice. https://t.co/BSAjHRtMVx
— kevin (@KevBeirne) August 6, 2020
This makes it even worse: https://t.co/Ie0J6Vp16S this is a decision based on pure greed.
— Kon Chittka (@KonMChittka) August 6, 2020
Yet another horrible display of inherent and callous greed, this time by the Kroenke/Walmart family. https://t.co/nMtsePckSS
— Chandler Mott (@chadmott66) August 7, 2020
It's disgusting Wrighty. Kroenke is worth 8 billion but can't give the club what is literally pennies to him to keep these employees in a job!
— Steve Dawson (@ThisBeSteveD) August 6, 2020
$5 billion spent on a new stadium in LA but needs to make 55 staff redundant saving probably 2-3 million a year. Disgusting.
— Andrew Minett (@AndrewMinett1) August 5, 2020
Still can’t believe arsenal sacked 55 people today and are reportedly close to getting Willian and coutinho, disgusting stuff, I would be ashamed if Liverpool did that
— LFCKeith (@NabySZN21) August 5, 2020