FA to make sweeping redundancies amid ‘significant’ financial challenge

The English Football Association (FA) has today (Monday) announced that 82 people are set to lose their jobs as it seeks to embark on a cost-cutting drive to address projected losses of around £300m (€327.4m/$369.1m) due to COVID-19.

The FA, which owns Wembley Stadium, has seen the events calendar for English football’s national stadium decimated by the global pandemic. Stating that it now has a greater understanding of the “long-term and irreversible effect” of COVID-19 on its finances, the FA said it anticipates many of its future revenue streams to be affected for a “considerable time”.

From an events perspective, Wembley was due to be the focal point of this summer’s UEFA Euro 2020, with the final, semi-finals, Round of 16 and group stage games taking place in London. UEFA this month announced that all 12 host cities have been locked in for the rescheduled tournament, which will now take place from June 11 to July 11 next year.

American football league the NFL last month said it will schedule all games in the United States this year, meaning that no fixtures will be played at Wembley or Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as originally planned.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said today: “The financial challenge we face is a significant one. We have lost all of the revenue from events at Wembley Stadium since March and all other future bookings, such as the music concerts in August and the NFL games in October.

“Our hospitality revenue from Wembley Stadium, which usually delivers around £35m per year, has completely fallen away and will probably take years to recover. In addition, many of our sponsors and broadcasters have been hugely impacted by the pandemic and, in turn, we are not able to deliver the content we are committed to.

“This results in pressure on us financially as in some cases we need to pay compensation, for example where events are cancelled.”

Bullingham stated that the FA has “forensically analysed” the budget of every division in order to identify the most suitable areas to make costs savings, adding the situation has worsened to a point where it now needs to reduce the size of the organisation in order to deal with the financial impact of the crisis.

The FA is proposing to make 124 positions redundant. Because recruitment was suspended the day the FA left its offices amid the COVID-19 lockdown in March, the Association said it has been able to take 42 vacant positions out of the structure, which means it is proposing to remove 82 roles from the organisation.

Bullingham added: “We do not think that it would be right to wait and see if the next few months bring greater certainty. The reality we are faced with is that no one knows the future and I believe that the money we have already lost, combined with the uncertainty of the coming months, means that we need to consider these proposals to avoid making matters worse in time.

“Going through this process now, as difficult as it is for all of us, means that in our worst-case scenarios we should still be able to overcome them and not need to repeat this exercise next year. The next few weeks will be very tough for everyone at the FA and our aim is to ensure that we emerge in the strongest possible state and be ready for better times in the future.”

Image: The FA