Football

Gazidis committed to independence

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Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis maintains his club's commitment to remaining self-sufficient is as resolute as ever, as the Gunners seek to ride out the credit crunch.

Gazidis is in no doubt of the importance of the club being able to control their own finances from income generated through success on the pitch at the Emirates Stadium and other marketing streams.

"It is very important to this club that it is run on a self sustaining basis," said Gazidis, speaking before the announcement of Red & White Holdings' share increase had been made public.

He added: "What that does is release you from the day-to-day pressures of anything that may be happening at board level. The club effectively functions as a club independent of what ownership changes may take place.

"That in itself lends a stability to what we are doing here, so I focus on what the club's needs are and [manager] Arsene [Wenger] is able to do the same."

Red and White Holdings - who first invested in Arsenal two years ago when they bought the 14.65% stake of former vice-chairman David Dein - insist they are "committed long-term investors and supporters of the club", rather than seeking to mount a hostile takeover.

The investment firm co-owned by Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov recently increased their stake in the Barclays Premier League club to just over 25%.

Arsenal's board of directors have always remained steadfast in their determination not to sell out, signing up to a "lockdown" agreement, although the departure of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith in December saw her 15.9% holding no longer subject to that.

Gazidis, who officially took up his position at the start of January following 15 years with the Major Soccer League in the United States, feels everyone at Arsenal is committed to moving forwards in the same direction.

He said: "All of the board members I interact with are all very focused on the self-sustaining model. They all believe in it and have the interests of the club at heart."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Premier League

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