According to a report in The Financial Times, some Premier League clubs are accusing the government of handing Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal an unfair advantage after both north London clubs received substantial loans from the Bank of England.
The report explains that the BoE’s ‘Covid Corporate Financing Facility’ is a form of low-cost borrowing only available to large firms which have an investment-grade credit rating.
Both Tottenham and Arsenal have been beneficiaries of the scheme, with the two clubs borrowing a combined £295m to help them steer through the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tottenham announced back in June that they had taken out a loan to the tune of £175m while Arsenal confirmed last week that the club had met the criteria to be eligible for a £120m from BoE.
However, some smaller clubs, who are not eligible to borrow under the CCFF, have accused the government of distorting the competition by favouring the two north London clubs.
One Premier League chairman, who asked not to be identified, told the FT: “It’s a competition-distorting government bailout for select clubs. Either we all have access to it or we don’t . . . [there’s] no chance Arsenal or Tottenham are borrowing at [that rate] from anybody else.”
A chief executive of another Premier League club told the publication: “It feels strange that state aid is being refused to most clubs because it’s not palatable from a PR perspective but Arsenal and Spurs have borrowed a quarter of a billion pounds between them.”
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This argument does not hold much water at all since the BoE specified the criteria that institutions need to qualify for a loan under the CCFF scheme. Not all clubs have the same credit rating and very few have invested as much into the British economy as Tottenham, who built a billion-pound stadium recently, which generated a huge number of jobs.
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