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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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SPORTS

Betway Brands The Home Of Express FC

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Express FC sponsors betway have branded the entire Mutesa II stadium.

On 5 November, betway, one of the World’s top betting companies partnered with ‘mukwano Gwabangi’ and unveiled a deal worth Shs400m at Hotel Africana.  This partnership includes shirt sponsorship and Stadium naming rights, packaged with a leveraging budget as development partners for the team and management of Express FC.

“Things are happening at Wankulukuku stadium the home of Express,” Kiwanuka Kiryowa, the Express chairman tweeted.

Having dropped two points against Vipers in a game that led to the suspension of the match officials for accepting an offside goal, Kefa Kisala’s Express is expected get three points off a coach less Onduparaka.

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Struggling Villa Appoint Bamweyana Who Almost Sunk Express, Timbe And Mugerwa

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Sam Timbe (L) and Bamweyana (R)

SC VILLA interim committee have decided to change the entire technical team and appointed Douglas Bamweyana as head coach.

Bamweyana was named on the team to take over the technical duties at Villa Park. The team also had Sam Timbe Simon, Peter Mugerwa and is headed by William Nkemba. It is now a year since Douglas Bamweyena was sacked at Express during Nakiwala Kiyingi’s reign over poor results.

“The interim committee would like to inform the football fraternity that in view of the poor results the club has been posting this season so far, they have agreed to terminate Moses Basena’s contract by mutual consent. The club appreciates Mr. Basena’s efforts,” Villa interim committee said.

The official communication from Villa, further said that Mr. Bamweyana’s appointment as head coach takes immediate effect.

Who is who on this technical team?

 Sam Timbe: He is going to work as a technical director overseeing the work of Bamweyana and Mugerwa. Timbe has been jobless since partying ways with Tusker of Kenya last year.

Bamweyana: He was appointed as the head coach replacing Moses Basena, and he is expected to handle the club professionally without any excuses. Villa have not won a game this season.

Simon Mugerwa: He has a lot of experience when it comes to finding good players. He won the post primary tournament with Buddo SS but he failed to take the Masaza Cup with Buddu.

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Villa Woes Deepen – Club Coach Basena Resigns

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SC Villa Woes have deepened after coach Moses Basena resigned.

Sources told the Grapevine that Basena could not stand the pressure from Villa fans who have always been humiliating him for failing to win a league game in eight games played this season.

“Basena  had to step down and do other things but the Villa job has been very tough because the big men are not willing to inject funds into the club,” a person close to Basena told the Grapevine.

Former Cranes and SC Villa defender Nestroy  Kizito, who has been working with Basena as his assistant told The Grapevine that Basena was bitter with the Villa fans who abused him after the Tooro United draw. “We were abused and the fans told us to leave their club,” Nestroy said.

What went wrong at Villa?

It should be remembered that Villa woes started when they kicked out former president Eng. Ben Misagga.

It is alleged that when Misagga got information that he was going to be fired from the club’s presidency, he sold off all the good players and by the time Omar Mandela’s team took over, Villa had only four players left (Ambrose Kirya (Villa captain), Joseph Nsubuga, Samson Kirya and Yusuf Wasswa.

Villa fans blame Misagga for leaving the team with average players and the new leaders for buying rejects like Savio Kabugo, Habib Kavuma and Manko Kaweesa, during the transfer market.

Villa maybe in the Express dilemma of being relegated like Express last season because each game that passes the situation is worrying. Rejected players like Savio Kabugo, Habib Kavuma and Manko Kaweesa are part of the Villa team struggling in the league.

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