Arsenal have confirmed this afternoon that the club has taken out a £120m loan from the Bank of England under the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) scheme.
A statement on the official website reads:
As we continue to work through the implications of the global pandemic on our finances, we can confirm today that the club has met the criteria set by the Bank of England for the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).
As a result, we are taking a short-term £120 million loan through this facility to partially assist in managing the impacts of the revenue losses attributable to the pandemic. This is a similar approach to that taken by a wide variety of major organisations across many industries including sport, and is repayable in May 2021.
The CCFF is designed to provide short-term finance at commercial rates during the pandemic to companies that have strong investment ratings and which make significant contributions to the British economy.
The CCFF is in addition to the loan provided by our owners Kroenke, Sports & Entertainment that enabled us to refinance the debt on Emirates Stadium in August last year.
The only other Premier League club to have availed of this scheme until now are our North London rivals, who borrowed £175m under this scheme, while the FA also took the same amount.
With billionaire owners, some might wonder why KSE have not sorted this out privately or via their own sources, but the low interest rates from the government make this an attractive option to cover short-term cash flow problems.
The Guardian’s Nick Ames suggests that this will not have an impact on Mikel Arteta’s transfer business in the January window, which might simply be because there’s none planned anyway. The likelihood of any high price deals now seems extremely slim.
As ever, it’s worth looking at the financial analysis done by the Arsenal Supporters Trust, who are estimating losses of up to £200m over two years because of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on finances.
It now seems almost certain the rest of this season will play out behind closed doors, and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that increased infections within clubs could see the sport shut down for a period of time – although there is significant resistance to that idea from most quarters.
Depending on the roll-out and take-up of vaccines, even the start of next season could see a limited number of fans return at first, and we’re still a some way from stadiums being full, as well as ticket and match-day revenue returning.