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SBD Global/August 6, 2014/Finance

Arsenal Shareholder Alisher Usmanov Says Club's Nine-Year Trophy Drought Was Avoidable

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Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has claimed that the club "could have avoided their nine-year trophy drought if they had chosen a different way to fund their move to the Emirates Stadium," according to the LONDON TIMES. Usmanov, the club's second largest shareholder, revealed that he had been "frustrated by the lack of recent success for the north London club -- and that he was sure this could have been avoided if they had followed a different financial strategy." Usmanov said that the decision to "use debt as a means of paying" for the Emirates move "led to Arsenal going almost ten years without winning a domestic title or the Champions League." Usmanov: "I think that Arsenal's planning was based on acquiring the new stadium, a decision taken by the previous owners. The acquisition was financed with debt, which would be repaid through match-day revenues among other sources. There is another way of doing it: when shareholders buy all of the assets and contribute them to the club" (LONDON TIMES, 8/5). The INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES' Nick Howson reported Usmanov has "provided an insight into the divide in the club's ownership after revealing he is still to meet with majority shareholder Stan Kroenke." Usmanov "does not sit on the club's board and prefers to leave day-to-day operations" to U.S. businessman and Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis. The end of Arsenal's "years of austerity was signalled last season" with the signing of Mesut Özil for a "club record fee and the winning of the FA Cup." Alexis Sanchez has since "joined from Barcelona" in one of "four new additions this summer" (IB TIMES, 8/5).
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