Alisher Usmanov in favor of Russians investing in foreign soccer clubs
Russian billionaire and major shareholder in English Premier League leaders Arsenal FC, said he sees nothing wrong in Russians investing in foreign soccer clubs.
Usmanov`s Red and White Holdings Ltd. bought last Friday a further 2% in Arsenal FC bringing the total stake to 23%.
"What is wrong if Russian capital plays a part in the best soccer team in the world," he said. "We will learn to win together and as a shareholder I will enjoy cheering [for the team] as a fan."
Usmanov is now the second largest shareholder in the `Gunners` after Danny Fiszman, who is the club director and holds a 24% stake in the club. The Russian billionaire said earlier he intended to acquire a blocking stake of 25% plus one share in the club.
The purchase of the additional 2%, which British tabloid The Sun said was worth $12.1 million, came four days after Arsenal was named the richest soccer club in the country.
Last Monday Arsenal`s management said the club`s income increased between June 1, 2006 and May 31, 2007 by 274% or by $103.24 million reaching over $403.28 million.
Peter Hill-Wood, the long-time chairman of the Arsenal board, is not enthusiastic about the Russian billionaire`s purchase and is openly calling on other shareholders to prevent Usmanov, who is apparently a Manchester United fan, from gaining a controlling stake.
Usmanov is the second Russian to invest in the English Premier League after another billionaire, Roman Abramovich, bought Chelsea FC in 2003 and has since invested about $893 million in the club.