LONDON: The damage to sport from the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK is starting to emerge with Arsenal becoming the first Premier League club to cut 55 staff jobs.

The redundancies are in the football, commercial and administration departments, with the majority coming in the latter two.

There will also be cuts to staff benefits, capital projects and discretionary projects, but investments will continue to be made in the playing staff and Arsenal’s transfer plans are unaffected.

A club statement from the newly-crowned FA Cup winners said it was facing “more significant and longer-lasting reductions in our revenue than we all hoped”.

Arsenal added they did not take the decision to propose redundancies “lightly” and had looked at “every aspect of the club and our expenditure before reaching this point.

“We know this is upsetting and difficult for our dedicated staff and our focus is on managing this as sensitively as possible.”

The Gunners’ first-team players and head coach Mikel Arteta agreed a 12.5pc pay cut in April.  Arsenal’s executive team also agreed to waive more than a third of their salaries over the next 12 months.

Arsenal, who won a record 14th FA Cup 2-1 against Chelsea on Saturday, cited the loss of revenue from fans likely not being able to return to for the start of the 2020-21 season and only in limited numbers after that.

Revenue from broadcasters, matchday and commercial activities had all been “hit severely”.

The proposals will now enter a 30-day consultation period during which questions will inevitably be asked about the revenue sums withdrawn by owner Stan Kroenke and the mishandling of the case of out-of-favour top-earner Mesut Ozil.