Arsenal ‘earned financial independence’

October 22, 2010

English soccer club, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis says the club has earned financial independence, and that future property sale profits will go towards players.

Last month, Arsenal’s parent holding company announced record pre-tax profits of £56 million and increased group turnover of £379.9m, while also seeing all the debt on their Highbury Square development paid off.

Addressing the annual general meeting of shareholders at the Emirates Stadium, Gazidis pledged any profit from further property sales would be ploughed back into the squad – with the only outstanding debt now tied into the long-term mortgage on their 60,000-seater ground, which opened in July 2006.

“This is a challenging path to tread,” he told the AGM, “but we have earned our independence.

“We do not have to rely on anybody but ourselves for future success.

“However, we have to keep moving forwards – standing still is never an option.”

Members of the Arsenal Supporters Trust ‘fanshare’ initiative were also present at this morning’s gathering at Emirates Stadium, along with American majority stakeholder Stan Kroenke.

The initiative, revealed in August, is a means of buying small fractions of full shares at an affordable price.

Ownership of a single “fanshare” – one hundredth of an actual share – means a member has the chance to ask questions of the directors and vote on policy.

The Gunners are currently majority-owned by four shareholders, all of whom collectively support the new scheme.

American majority stakeholder Stan Kroenke, hovering just short of the shareholding level which will force him to make an offer for all other Arsenal shares, was also present at the annual meeting.