Coronavirus: Tottenham borrow £175m from British government
Tottenham Hotspur have borrowed £175 million from the British government to help cope with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Both Spurs and the Bank of England confirmed on Thursday that an agreement had been reached as part of the government’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).
Strict criteria applies to be eligible for the initiative — including holding the highest credit rating possible for a firm — with the money repayable in full not before April 2021 at an interest rate of just 0.5%.
Tottenham are understood to be one of a very small number of Premier League clubs who qualify for the CCFF initiative and have moved to secure their finances after projecting losses that could exceed £200m over the next year.
Spurs stated the money “will not be used for player acquisitions” and instead to ensure the club has “financial flexibility and additional working capital,” while also helping repay the debt on their new £1 billion stadium.
The venue was due to host two NFL matches, Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title fight against Kubrat Pulev and a series of concerts this summer, all of which have been cancelled as a result of government measures to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, who in March was among the first prominent figures in football to warn of the coronavirus pandemic’s potential impact, said in a statement: “We have always run this club on a self-sustaining commercial basis. I said as early as March 18 that, in all my 20 years at the club, there have been many hurdles along the way but none of this magnitude — the COVID-19 pandemic has shown itself to be the most serious of them all.
“It is imperative that we now all work together — scientists, technologists, the government and the live-events sector — to find a safe way to bring spectators back to sport and entertainment venues. Collectively we have the ability to support the development of new technologies to make this possible and to once again experience the passion of fans at live events.”
Spurs have already announced a pro-rata refund for season-ticket holders, and as speculation persists that fans will not be allowed to attend games until the autumn at the earliest, the club is among the hardest hit given how important matchday revenue is to their financial planning.
They were forced to reverse a decision to furlough non-playing staff after attracting criticism for using the government scheme and there is no agreement with the first-team squad over a pay cut or deferral.
The only reduction has been taken by Levy himself and members of the board.
Last September, Spurs refinanced more than £600m of loans taken out on the stadium, converting approximately £525m into bonds, with sources telling ESPN a sum of around £25m was ring-fenced for transfers.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Spurs recorded the highest pre-tax profit of any Premier League club for last season, totaling £87.4m — a figure achieved by reaching the Champions League final without adding to their first-team squad.