Arsenal's cost of European failure revealed as wage restructuring begins to take shape

MIkel Arteta - Stuart MacFarlane /Getty Images
MIkel Arteta - Stuart MacFarlane /Getty Images

Arsenal made a loss of more than £45 million last season as the club was left counting the cost of their failure to qualify for European competition.

Last season was the first in 25 years in which Arsenal were not involved in either the Champions League or the Europa League, and the impact of that absence from continental competition has been made clear in their latest accounts.

The financial results were, however, significantly improved on the previous year, when Arsenal lost £107.3m due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest accounts, for the year ended May 31 2022, also show that Arsenal have been able to reduce their wage bill from £244m to £212m as part of their rejuvenation of the first-team squad.

Arsenal have deliberately targeted young players with re-sale value and have gradually removed the ageing higher-earners.

The lack of Uefa broadcasting revenue led to overall broadcast revenues of £146m, down from £184m in the previous season, although this was also affected by the previous year’s accounts including additional TV revenue as a result of the Covid-caused delays in the Premier League season.

Commercial revenues, meanwhile, were effectively stagnant, rising from £136m to £142m.

“The 2021/22 season was the first for 25 years in which the men's first-team had failed to qualify for Uefa European competition,” the club said. “The loss of the revenue associated with Uefa football was the principal contributory factor in terms of the overall result for the year.

“The very welcome return of supporters to our home matches, as the restrictions associated with the Covid pandemic were eased, meant that the result for the year was considerably improved against the prior period, which had been adversely impacted by £85 million of Covid attributable losses.”

The accounts provide financial proof of the importance of European qualification for Arsenal, who are currently on course for a place in next season’s Champions League after a stunning start to this season.

They have invested heavily in their squad in an attempt to return to European qualification and the club said such expenditure would not have been possible without “the support and commitment” of the Kroenke owners.

“During 2021/22, and subsequently during the 2022 summer transfer window, the club has invested strongly in the development of its men’s first-team playing resources,” said Arsenal.

“This investment recognises that the Club has not been where it wanted to be in terms of on-field competitiveness and that, as a minimum, qualification for UEFA competition needed to be regained, as a pre-requisite to re-establishing a self-sufficient financial base.

“This investment would not have been possible without the support and commitment of the Club’s ownership, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.”