According to the Daily Telegraph, a recently agreed amendment to Premier League rules means Alisher Usmanov will continue to be frozen out of boardroom matters at the Emirates for the foreseeable future.
Red and White Holdings, controlled by the Uzbek oligarch and his business partner Farhad Moshiri, have been voraciously snapping up shares since the takeover of Stan Kroenke with the aim of reaching the 30 per cent threshold which would give them access to the club’s books.
Had they been successful before the end of last season the duo could potentially have secured the rights and responsibilities of ‘club directors’ with Premier League regulations defining the position as someone either on the board or in possession of 30 per cent of the club or more.
However, in a twist which will no doubt please the current Gunners board, the Premier League (backed by all clubs) have decided to alter the wording, thus closing the loophole.
Usmanov will therefore not gain access to the grotty details of Abou Diaby’s monthly earnings, won’t find out the meat percentage of the burgers sold in Block 4, can’t complain about Emirates paying us seven-and-twelfty to plaster their name on shirts, and will never meet the Senderos-Cygan-Stepanovs Cerberus which guards Wenger’s Duck Tales-style pool of cash under the dugout.
It basically means he’s not allowed to satisfy himself that the club’s record of material transactions is complete and correct – a position he’d likely have taken advantage of to cause mischief in the press.
While Ivan Gazidis and fellow board members will no doubt be delighted by the latest news, it does cause something of a headache for Usmanov. Unable to punch Peter Hill-Wood and Sir Chips Keswick in the ribs, by publicly questioning Arsenal’s spending, and with no avenue to pursue a hostile takeover he’s even more stuck than he was before.
As the Telegraph points out, individual shares have topped the £16,000 mark during Usmanov’s recent spell as an active buyer; should he renege on his interest that price should drop allowing small shareholders the opportunity to once again buy into Arsenal.