Hill-Wood reveals implications

Image: Hill-Wood: Backing Wenger

Peter Hill-Wood says it would not be 'financial armageddon' if Arsenal failed to finish in the top four.

Arsenal chairman discusses effect of failing to claim top-four finish

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has insisted it would not be 'financial armageddon' if the club failed to secure a UEFA Champions League berth. The Gunners are facing a stern challenge in breaking back into the top four following Aston Villa's impressive emergence as a force in the Premier League this term. Arsene Wenger's side currently sit fifth in the table, five points behind Martin O'Neill's Villa, with 15 games of the campaign remaining. Hill-Wood admits that failing to qualify for Europe's elite competition would significantly dent their income, but stressed it would not be a disaster.

Financial drain

He told the Daily Mirror: "There is no denying that it would be a real financial drain on the club if we didn't qualify for the Champions League next season. "Even if we were in the Uefa Cup and enjoyed a long run in Europe, that would not come close to making up the shortfall. "But although missing out on the Champions League for one year would be a big disappointment, it would not mean financial armageddon for Arsenal. "When we worked out our budget, and did our fund-raising calculations in respect to the new stadium, we did not assume we were going to be in the Champions League every season. "That may be an assumption at other clubs, and it's not for me to comment on the way they are run, but we did not want to get out of our depth in terms of paying our bills. "So although it would certainly hurt us in the pocket to finish outside the top four, it would not be a huge shock to the club's finances."
Arsenal continue to track Zenit St Petersburg playmaker Andrei Arshavin, with Wenger revealing on Thursday that a deal was "90 per cent completed". Of the transfer saga, Hill-Wood added: "We have made our stance perfectly clear. The deal is in the pending tray, but we won't be ringing them."

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