Arsenal take out £120m Covid loan

By David Owen

January 8 – Arsenal, the North London club who have perked up recently under Mikel Arteta while remaining in the lower half of the Premier League table, are taking out a £120 million government loan to help them to navigate their way through the covid crisis.

The club, controlled by Stan Kroenke, the US sports team entrepreneur, is getting the short-term finance via the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).

Announcing the move on the club website, Arsenal said the facility would “partially assist in managing the impact of the revenue losses attributable to the pandemic”. It said its approach was similar to that taken by “a wide variety of major organisations across many industries”. The loan is repayable in May.

The club slumped into the red in its 2018-19 financial year, registering a pre-tax loss at the entity Arsenal Football Club plc of £23.5 million.

This represented a substantial negative swing from the huge £97.4 million pre-tax profit recorded for the year to end-May 2018 – a figure boosted by bumper profits on player sales, with Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain among those who departed.

The operating loss widened by a comparatively modest £13 million, from £22.5 million in 2017-18 to £35.6 million. The end-May 2019 cash position was described a year ago as “robust”, with balances of just over £107 million.

Clubs around the world are losing revenue as a consequence of having to play their matches in front of few, if any, spectators. Under normal circumstances, Arsenal’s match-day revenues are among the highest in the Premier League.

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