By Rachael Olokungboye
Lagos – Arsenal has borrowed £120 million from the Bank of England to help the club’s cashflow through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The loan is repayable by the end of May and is principally designed to help offset the ongoing absence of matchday revenue for the season.
Significantly, the money cannot be used for transfers as it comes from the Bank of England’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), which is the same scheme through which Tottenham and the Football Association received financial support last year.
Few clubs or organisations are eligible for the CCFF because of strict qualification criteria which include a strong investment grade rating and a determination that a company makes a “material contribution to the British economy.”
It is unclear what interest Arsenal will have to pay on the loan but Spurs borrowed their £175m sum at a rate of 0.5%.
“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),” an Arsenal statement said.
“As a result, we are taking a short-term £120m 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.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche says footballers should be vaccinated in order to re-distribute the money spent on testing players back to the NHS.
The Premier League is currently testing players and staff twice a week, with 40 confirmed positive cases in the latest round of results.
The EFL announced a move to twice-weekly testing earlier this week following multiple match postponements across the Championship, League One and League Two.
This weekend’s FA Cup schedule has also been affected, following the postponement of Southampton’s tie against Shrewsbury, while Derby are being forced to field a group of U23 and U18 players to play Chorley after the entire first-team squad went into isolation.
Dyche revealed Burnley have been affected by “a couple of cases”, but their FA Cup at home to MK Dons on Saturday is unaffected.
“It’s my view, I think vaccination is the way forward throughout football,” Dyche said.
“The amount of money being spent on testing in the Premier League, if that was channelled back into the NHS and into the vaccination system, surely that’s a better place to be than continually testing footballers.
Edinson Cavani was not intentionally racist in the Instagram post that brought him a three-match suspension, the Football Association says.
But a Premier League football fan would have deemed a word in the post “racially offensive”, the FA added in its written reasons for the ban.
Manchester United striker Cavani, 33, was fined £100,000 and banned for a post containing a Spanish word that is offensive in some contexts.
The term was intended for a friend.
Cavani, who made the post on 29 November, deleted it immediately and apologised when it was explained to him how the term caused offence. He pleaded guilty to a Football Association charge of using insulting and/or improper words, and was banned on 31 December.
Explaning its reasons for the decision, the FA independent regulatory commission said it was “surprised” that, at the time of the post, he had received no media training from Manchester United, given the size of his Instagram following.
Man Utd forward banned over Instagram post
“In light of the player’s high profile in the game, his inability to speak English and the fact that he had approaching eight million Instagram followers, the commission were surprised that no such ‘training’ had been specifically put in place for the player by his club,” the FA commission said.
However, in imposing the minimum punishment for using insulting and/or improper language, the commission noted in mitigation that Cavani and United “have taken steps to ensure that the player has a greater understanding of his responsibilities on social media”.
The commission wrote: “The unique circumstances and facts of this player’s case were of such significance that a departure from the standard minimum was justified in order to avoid an unjust outcome.”
It was satisfied that the post had been sent in “affectionate appreciation” of a friend offering him their congratulations.
Along with the ban and fine, Cavani must also complete a “face-to-face” education programme.
When the ban was issued, Manchester United said: “As he has stated, Edinson Cavani wasn’t aware that his words could have been misconstrued and he sincerely apologised for the post and to anyone who was offended.
“Despite his honest belief that he was simply sending an affectionate thank you in response to a congratulatory message from a close friend, he chose not to contest the charge out of respect for, and solidarity with, the FA and the fight against racism in football.
“While it is clear that context and intent are key factors, we note that the independent regulatory commission was required to impose a minimum three-game suspension.
“The club trusts that the independent regulatory commission will make it clear in its written reasons that Edinson Cavani is not a racist, nor was there any intent in relation to his post.”
**Manchester United have finalised the £19m signing of Ivory Coast winger Amad Diallo from Italian side Atalanta.
The deal for the 18-year-old includes a further £18.2m in add-ons and he has signed a contract until June 2025, with the option of an extra year.
United agreed a deal to sign Diallo in October.
“Having watched him myself, I believe he is one of the most exciting young prospects in the game,” said Old Trafford boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“It will take time for him to adapt but his speed, vision and fantastic dribbling ability will stand him in good stead to make the transition.
“He is a player with all of the raw attributes that are needed to be an important player for Manchester United in the years to come.”
Diallo is the first player to be signed and registered under post-Brexit rules. The paperwork over his move was submitted just after midnight on New Year’s Day and was approved the same day.
He needed a governing body exemption before he could apply for a UK visa, which he did in Rome earlier this week.
Diallo will fly to England once it is approved and will not have to quarantine as he was part of Atalanta’s ‘bubble’.
“The coaches have been fantastic since I signed, we have been in touch regularly and they have already given me a lot of great advice,” said Diallo.
“I have had time to prepare for this move, both physically and mentally, and I have worked really hard to be ready to make the step up to this amazing club.”
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