Arsenal fan groups urge CEO Vinai Venkatesham to change course over further job cuts at Emirates Stadium

Several fan groups have written to Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham urging the club to reverse course on their plans for further redundancies at the Emirates Stadium within their supporter services department.

Arsenal are planning to streamline their ticketing & services and premium departments, a process which is expected to result in further job losses after 55 redundancies were made at the club last summer, including the supporter liaison officer who is responsible for communication with the club’s 250 supporter groups around the world. 

The Gunners insist that the steps they are taking, which are not yet concluded, are necessary to offer an “effective service” to their global fanbase and that they will be “increasing the level of resource” in that area. 

An Arsenal spokesperson told CBS Sports: “We are looking to improve the service we offer to supporters and are bringing our Ticketing & Services and Premium operations together as one combined team. This will provide a more efficient service to our Premium, General Admission and Supporters’ Clubs around the world.

“Providing an effective service to Supporters’ Clubs is central to our thinking here. The duties of the Supporter Liaison Officer, which is a requirement of both the Premier League and UEFA, will not disappear and are very important to the club. In fact we will be increasing the level of resource in this area.”

However there is concern among fan groups at the departure of Mark Brindle, who has served as the club’s supporter liaison officer since May 2014. 

He is among those set to leave the club but the presidents of the official Arsenal supporters clubs in Denmark, Sweden and Norway — who between them represent over 10,000 fans — have written to Venkatesham urging him to reverse the process.

Craving even more coverage of the world’s game? Listen below and subscribe to ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more.

“He keeps the support evergreen and alive, and he connects us to a football club many, many miles away,” their letter says. “Mark is not only the greatest Arsenal supporter, you’ll find. He is the very definition of a Mr. Network.

“He corresponds with nearly all departments in Arsenal FC, and even though he’s not busy at this minute, he will be busy again, when our football is coming back. We all know that.

“But he’s more than that. He’s also Mr. Network towards around 250 Arsenal supporter clubs around the globe… I can hardly count the number of supporters, he keeps loyal, supportive and organized.”

Arsenal have one of the most sizeable global fanbases of Premier League clubs and fan groups from as far afield as Belarus, Malta, Egypt and Kuwait have also offered their backing to the plea from Nordic fanbases.

The Gunners have been undertaking a widespread review of their business over the past year as they battle with the impact of COVID-19 on their finances. The Arsenal Supporters Trust predicted that a season of behind closed doors fixtures –two home games were played with 2,000 fans at the Emirates in late 2020 but these were run at a loss — would see the club register a loss of over $200million for the 2020-21 campaign.

In August Arsenal announced plans to make 55 redundancies within their permanent staff whilst also parting ways with several senior scouts. The following month Venkatesham said: “Unfortunately we see a different economy ahead and we needed to restructure our organization and make a really tough decision, and unfortunately my job is about making hard decisions to make sure that we have the right structure going forward to make sure we are leaner, faster and equipped to deal with a different economy and that’s really tough.”

Source link