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    U.S. Billionaire Stan Kroenke Gets Full Control of Arsenal, Buying Out Russian Rival Usmanov

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    Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov agreed on Tuesday to sell his 30 percent stake in Arsenal to the club’s majority owner, the American billionaire Stan Kroenke, an agreement that would end years of acrimony and values the English Premier League team at $2.3 billion.

    Kroenke and Usmanov spent years fighting for supremacy at Arsenal, buying up shares whenever they became available, and the deal clears the way for Kroenke to take the club private, an action that Usmanov had long blocked by refusing to sell his shares.

    Kroenke, whose family also owns several American sports franchises, including the Los Angeles Rams and the Denver Nuggets, gained the upper hand in July 2011, leaving Usmanov to do little more than complain from the sidelines or seethe privately in the luxury skybox he maintains at Arsenal’s stadium.

    Usmanov accepted an offer of 550 million pounds in cash, or about $712 million, giving Kroenke more than the 90 percent stake required to purchase the remaining shares in the club, Kroenke’s investment company, KSE, said.

    Usmanov spent years denouncing the way Arsenal was run, frequently complaining in open letters about the club’s strategy and direction under Kroenke’s leadership, and he expressed a desire to take full ownership so that he could invest his own money to allow the club to compete for soccer’s top trophies.

    It is unclear why Usmanov, who is 118th on the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people, decided to finally sell shares in the team. As recently as last year, he offered £1 billion to buy Kroenke’s stake. A few months later, Usmanov rejected an offer of £525 million for his stake — only slightly lower than the figure he eventually agreed to.

    “I have always been and will continue to be an ardent supporter of Arsenal, and I see my 30 percent stake as an important aspect in protecting the best interests of the fans in the club,” Usmanov said at the time.

    In announcing the terms of the deal on Tuesday, KSE said the sale would further the club’s strategy and ambitions, allowing it to act more decisively than in the past. But the Arsenal Supporters Trust, a group that represents the club’s small shareholders, described the announcement as a “dreadful day.”

    “Stan Kroenke taking the club private will see the end of supporters owning shares in Arsenal and their role upholding custodianship values,” the group said in a statement. Under private ownership, the club will no longer have to hold annual meetings, forums that at times made for awkward questioning of its management.

    Usmanov’s exit comes during a time of great change at Arsenal. This will be the club’s first season in more than two decades with a manager other than Arsène Wenger, who stepped aside and was replaced in May by Unai Emery.

    The team, which last won the Premier League in 2004, prepared for the Wenger’s exit by revamping its soccer operations, bringing in senior executives from high-profile European clubs including Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund.

    Yet uncertainty remains. Ivan Gazidis, the club’s chief executive and the one responsible for many of the changes, has received an offer to take over at A.C. Milan.

    Usmanov is a close associate of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, a relationship that has come into greater focus in Britain as the countries’ ties have deteriorated in the aftermath the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England in March.

    The British prime minister, Theresa May, has blamed Moscow for the attack and threatened to take action against wealthy Russians with ties to the president.

    Roman A. Abramovich, the Russian co-owner of Chelsea, who also has a close relationship with Putin, was forced to miss his team’s victory in the F.A. Cup final in May, after the British authorities delayed the renewal of his investor visa.

    The sale of Usmanov’s stake in Arsenal also raises speculation about another English Premier League team with which he has connections. His longtime business partner Farhad Moshiri, whose wealth stems largely from his involvement in Usmanov’s business empire, took control of the Liverpool club Everton in 2016.

    Usmanov’s holding company, USM, quickly became a major sponsor of the team, which has been among the biggest spenders in the Premier League during the current player-transfer window. Everton also has plans to build a new stadium.

    Premier League rules forbid dual ownership, so Usmanov was unable to invest in Everton while he retained his stake in Arsenal. Moshiri and Usmanov co-owned the 30 percent stake in Arsenal at one point, before Moshiri sold his share to clear his investment in Everton.

    Article by nytimes

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    She Cranes Star Nuba Reveals Why She Decided To Play For Uganda Not South Sudan; Why She Regrets Giving Birth Early…

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    She Cranes player Mary Nuba

    Born in South Sudan but grew in Uganda, that’s the story of the She Cranes goal shooter Mary Nuba Cholhok who was voted as the best shooter in the just concluded Fast5 Series tournament which was held in New Zealand.

    Uganda emerged in fifth position in the tournament. theGrapevine had a chance to talk to Nuba before she went back to England for her professional career.

    Grapevine: Why did you decide to play for Uganda and not for your native country South Sudan?

    Nuba: South Sudan is still lagging behind in Netball and I’m getting old, that’s why I decided to play for Uganda’s She Cranes.

    Grapevine: What challenges have you faced so far in your career?

    Nuba: Thinking about my five-year baby who stays in Uganda yet I’m in England playing for my professional club.

    Grapevine: Then what about your husband [the baby’s father] ?

    Nuba: I’m not married, though I gave birth.

    Mary Nuba was awarded Fans player of the Fast5 Series tournament

    Grapevine: How did you manage giving birth and playing Netball?

    Nuba: I realized that later that I made a mistake of getting pregnant. But I stood on my feet, forgot all the past and decided to move on with my child and my career.

    Grapevine: How do you manage those good performances?

    Nuba: I work very hard ever day in order to achieve my goals.

    Grapevine: Where do you see She Cranes in four years to come?

    Nuba: I see She Cranes winning the Netball World cup because we have good players who are still young.

    Grapevine: Tell us about the best game in your career?

    Nuba: When we defeated South Africa in the Common Wealth games in Birmingham.

    Grapevine: Who’s your role model in the game of Netball?

    Nuba: Peace Proscovia because of the way she managed to lift her life from a poor background. She is now superstar in the game.

     

     

    By Juma Ali

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    MIRACLE: All She Cranes Players Return After Incidents Of Players Disappearing While On Duty Abroad…

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    She Cranes players and one of the start player Goal Shooter Mary Cholhok Nuba

    It was a miracle this time around after all the She Cranes players returned from New Zealand.

    It has been a habit for some Netball players to escape when the team travels for international tournaments.

    Just last month, two She Cranes players; Nakanyike Shakira, who was a Police Player and Rose Namutebi, who was a KCCA Player, disappeared in UK, during She Cranes international friendlies.

    The disappearance of these two players followed the disappearance of centre Player, Halimah Nakachwa, who disappeared in UK, in 2017 during another international friendly in UK.

    However, this time around, all the nine players who went for the first five series tournament in New Zealand, where She Cranes emerged fifth, after wining three games and losing three games, all returned with the team.

    National players disappearing while on duty abroad is also a habit in other sports disciplines like; boxing, table tennis, Rugby among others.

     

    By Juma Ali

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    It’s Time For Golola To Rest: I’m Going To Punch Him Into Retirement – General Fungu Vows…

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    Moses Golola (L) and General Fungu (R)

    General Hamza Fungu has vowed to fight Moses Golola and send him into retirement come 26th December. 2022.

    Fungu said this during the launch at Akamwesi gardens today.

    Uganda’s middle weight kick boxing champion, Golola Moses is set to face his former trainer, General Hamza Fungu on bixing day at Akamwesi shopping mail gardens.

    Golola, who is known for his many words said that he has beaten many fighters who were better than Fungu, “now look at this piglet, I’m going to show him why I’m called Golola Moses ‘of Uganda ‘  and I call upon Ugandans to come and be witnesses on that day.”

    Though Golola said that he signed a contract which allows both fighters to fight until one gets tired, officials in charge of organizing the show said they will fight K-1 style for five rounds.

    Grapevine had a chance to sit down with Golola’s challenger General Fungu and and this is what he had to say;

    theGrapevine: How are you prepared for this fight?

    Fungu: I’m well prepared but they have also given us enough time. So, I’m going to prepare more.

    theGrapevine: Why, among fighters did you choose Golola?

    Fungu: I have been asking to fight Golola for the last five years but he has been dodging me. He one time asked for 20,000 dollars to fight me.

    theGrapevine: Why do you think he accepted this time around?

    Fungu: I think this time, he has been given a lot of money.

    theGrapevine: Which tactics are you going to use to defeat Golola?

    Fungu : Golola has words but I have the tactics which will defeat Golola.

    theGrapevine: Many people have come out to challenge Golola but he finally wins?

    Fungu : He has been favoured many times.

    theGrapevine: Is it true that the contract you signed for the fight allows you to fight until one of you gets tired?

    Fungu : The contract is a disadvantage to Golola not me because I was born a fighter.

    theGrapevine: What next after this fight?

    Fungu : After this fight, I will fight three more three bouts and retire.

     

    By Juma Ali

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