Barclays Premier League

Usmanov attacks Arsenal board

2012-07-05 17:08
Robin van Persie (Getty Images)

London - Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov attacked the club board on Thursday for a lack of investment and for failing to hold on to captain Robin van Persie beyond next year because of disagreement over the team's future.

The open letter from Uzbek-born billionaire Usmanov, who has a stake of just under 30 percent, makes public his concerns over the running of the Premier League club, majority owned by American Stan Kroenke.

"It is down to our manager, and not the shareholders, to have to deal with the club's tight finances, carry the burden of repaying the stadium debt by selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements," he said.

Manager Arsene Wenger learned on Wednesday that striker Van Persie, who scored 37 goals last season, would not renew his contract when it expires next year.

"Yet again we are faced with losing our true marquee player at the club because we cannot assure him of the future direction and give confidence that we can win trophies," added Usmanov, who pointed out that his Red & White Securities group had invested around 200 million pounds ($312 million) in the club.

Arsenal have not won a trophy since 2005 but their third-place finish last season was enough to guarantee them a place in the lucrative European Champions League for the 15th successive season.

The club confirmed they had received the Usmanov letter and said they were considering its content.

Arsenal's policy is to be self-funding and the club believe they are well placed to benefit from new Financial Fair Play rules designed to ensure leading European clubs clean up their finances.

Arsenal had a pretax profit of 49.5 million pounds in the six months to November 2011, figures boosted by the sales of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona and Samir Nasri to Manchester City.

The north London club pay annual interest of around 20 million pounds on debt linked to their move to the 60,000-seater Emirates Stadium in 2006.

Usmanov said Arsenal had to match clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona financially if they were to compete with them on the field.

Champions League winners Chelsea and Premier League winners Manchester City are bankrolled by wealthy owners, while the Spanish duo are helped by being able to sell their own broadcast rights.

Usmanov, who does not have a seat on the Arsenal board, said Red & White Securities had a vision of a debt-free club with enough money to buy top players.

He said the group would buy more shares from anyone who wanted to sell them and was committed to a long-term investment. ($1 = 0.6419 British pounds)

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
30 August 2015
Southampton v Norwich City, St. Mary's Stadium 14:30
Swansea City v Manchester United, Liberty Stadium 17:00
12 September 2015
Everton v Chelsea, Goodison Park 13:45
Norwich City v Bournemouth, Carrow Road 16:00
Arsenal v Stoke City, Emirates Stadium 16:00
Crystal Palace v Manchester City, Selhurst Park 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Southampton, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Swansea City, Vicarage Road 16:00
Manchester United v Liverpool, Old Trafford 18:30
13 September 2015
Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur, Stadium of Light 14:30
Leicester City v Aston Villa, King Power Stadium 17:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who do you think will win the EPL 2015/16 season?

 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.