By Alex Miller
at Leaders in Football, London
6 October 2011
Arsenal’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis has claimed the club’s current lowly league position is not a concern and added the Gunners “could afford to miss out on Champions League” next season and continue to compete for the league title.
The club has qualified for the tournament in each of Arsene Wenger’s 14 seasons in charge, but several early defeats and the loss of key players Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Glichy in the summer has set alarm bells ringing among some fans.
Qualifying for the Champions League is worth approximately £20m to clubs – Arsenal earned £26m in Uefa cash alone from reaching the first knockout round last season – but the financial situation at the club means Gazidis is not unduly concerned.
“We can afford not to be in the competition,” he claimed, despite the club’s latest accounts showing a fall in turnover and profit. The Gunners reported group turnover for the year ending 31 May as £255.7m, down from £379.9m in 2010, while profit was also reduced from £56m to £14.8m.
Gazidis also attempted to play down fears of further player departures, with striker Robin van Persie refusing to commit to the club long-term, by stating the club does not have a salary cap in place. “I don’t know where that idea comes from”, he added.
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