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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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Uganda Cranes To Bank On Onyango’s Brilliancy Against Tanzania

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AFCON 2019 Qualifier Group L:

Sunday, 24th March 2019

Tanzania Vs Uganda Cranes,6:00

CRANES SKIPPER Denis Onyango, currently alias Mr. Clean Sheets in the Africa Cup qualifiers will be determined to extend his record as they take on Tanzania in the last game.

Cranes qualified in November with Patrick Kaddu’s goal ate Namboole and Sebastien Desabre is expected to experiment with some few young players as he prepares for CHAN.

“We have already qualified and one of our tasks is to take a clean-sheet to Egypt but I give a lot of respect to Tanzania,” Onyango said.

Cranes had a week-long camp in Ismailia Egypt and Farouk Miya was the last professional player to arrive in camp from HK Gorica were he does his professional duties. The game will take place on Sunday.

They are 15 foreign-based players summoned by the French tactician Sebastien Desabre.

What Tanzania need;

Tanzania, the hosts only need to beat Uganda and hope Lesotho falter in Cape Verde to qualify.

Lesotho are second in Group L on five points, same as Tanzania but have a better head-to-head record. The two are a massive eight behind Uganda. All three – Lesotho, Tanzania and Cape Verde – can still qualify on the final day.

“All I am asking for is for Tanzanians to continue to supporting Taifa Stars with prayers for the team to down Uganda Cranes and sail through,” chairman of a special committee formed to ensure the Taifa Stars qualify for the finals Paul Mukonda said.

Head To Head:

Uganda      0-0 Tanzania                

Uganda      1-1 Tanzania                

Tanzania 0-3 Uganda           

Uganda      2-2 Tanzania                

Uganda      3-1 Tanzania                

Tanzania 0-1 Uganda           

Tanzania 0-3 Uganda

Players in camp: Defenders: Murushid Jjuuko (Simba, Tanzania), Timothy Awany (KCCA, Uganda), Halid Lwaliwa (Vipers, Uganda), Geofrey Walusimbi (Free Agent), Joseph Ochaya (TP Mazembe, DR Congo), Kirizestom Ntambi (Ethiopian Coffee), Nico Wakiro Wadada (Azam, Tanzania)

Midfielders: Khalid Aucho (Churchhill brothers, India), Hassan Wasswa Mawanda (Free Agent), Tadeo Lwanga (Vipers, Uganda), Ibrahim Sadam Juma (KCCA, Uganda), Moses Waiswa (Vipers, Uganda), Moses Opondo (Vendsyssel FF, Denmark)

Forwards: Faruku Miya (Gorica, Croatia), Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (Simba, Tanzania), Allan Kyambadde (KCCA, Uganda), Allan Okello (KCCA,Uganda), Edrisa Lubega (SV Ried, Austria), Muhammad Shaban (Raja Casablanca, Morocco), Henry Patrick Kaddu (KCCA, Uganda), Milton Karisa (MC Oujda, Morocco).

Betting Tips:

Saturday:

Senegal vs Madagascar-‘over’

Burundi vs Gabon-1/gg                 

Cameroon vs Comoros-1              

Niger vs Egypt-2

Zambia vs Namibia-2           

G.Bissau vs Mozambique-1 

Côte d’Ivoire vs Rwanda-1  

Ghana vs Kenya-1

Mali vs South Sudan-1

Sunday:

Zimbabwe vs Congo-GG                

Congo DR vs Liberia-GG                

Central Africa vs Guinea-X1

Benin vs Togo-‘over’/gg info

Tanzania vs Uganda-‘over’  

Cape Verde Islands vs Lesotho-GG                  

Libya vs South Africa-‘over’/gg

Betting Tips

Saturday:

Georgia vs Switzerland-‘over’       

Gibraltar vs Republic-2

Sweden vs Romaia-X1/GG

By Senior Reprter, Kussam Kalema

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AFCON QUALIFIERS: Who Occupies The Last 10 Slots?

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AFCON QUALIFIERS

Friday games:

Malawi vs Morocco, 4:00

Nigeria vs Seychelles,6:00

Burkina Faso vs Mauritania,8:00

Botswana vs Angola,8:00

Sudan vs E.Guinea,8:00

Tunisia vs Swaziland,9:15

Algeria vs Gambia,10:45

Saturday games:

Burundi vs Gabon,4:00

Cameroon vs Comoros,6:00

Niger vs Egypt,6:30

Guinea-Bissau vs Mozambique,7:30

Zambia vs Namibia,7:30

Ivroy Coast vs Rwanda,8:00

Ghana vs Kenya,9:00

Mali vs South Sudan,10:00

Sunday games:

Senegal vs Madagascar,5:00

DR Congo vs Liberia,4:00

Zimbabwe vs Congo,4:00

C.A.R VS Guinea,5:00

Cape Verde VS Lesotho,6:00

Tanzania VS Uganda,6:00

Benin VS Togo,6:00

Libya VS South Africa,8:00

AS the last Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers take place this weekend, the Grapevine breaks down all the games of the teams that are fighting for the last 10 slots.

Cameroon will look to secure a place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations when they host the Comoros for their final Group B qualifier. The match is set to be staged at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde on Saturday.

Cameroon come into the match in second place in the standings with eight points from five matches, and they hold a three-point lead over the Comoros.

The Indomitable Lions, therefore, need only a draw to secure a place at the 2019 finals. Cameroon coach Clarence Seedorf says he is working hard at ensuring his team takes full advantage of their strengths and improve their attacking potency.

“Scoring goals comes and goes with time but the most important thing is that we continue creating chances. The entire team must work and we then we have to score goals,” Seedorf told reporters in Yaounde earlier this week.

“We have to improve on our free-kicks and corners. We have to take advantage of our great physical power and the height in the team. This is something we’ve analysed and are keen on improving.”

Comoros coach Amir Abdou has done credible work with his team, he was recently rewarded with a new contract. The very fact that the minnows still have a shot at qualifying heading into the final round of matches is a highly creditable achievement.

Can Aubameyang Save Gabon?

Burundi and Gabon will battle it out for a ticket to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations when they lock horns at the Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium in Bujumbura on Saturday afternoon. Two points separate the two nations in Group C heading into this weekend’s round of fixtures, with first placed Mali having already booked their place at this year’s showpiece in Egypt.

Burundi head into Saturday’s fixture as clear favourites to confirm their place at a first ever Africa Cup of Nations tournament. The hosts sit two points clear with the Panthers in third and nine ahead of winless South Sudan – who have already been eliminated from qualification contention.

The Swallows will advance to this year’s continental showpiece with either a draw or win, while Gabon need nothing but victory if they are to pip their hosts and join Mali in Egypt.

Joint top-scorer in qualifying Fiston Abdul Razak scored four goals for Burundi in a 5-2 win over South Sudan last time out, to fire his nation onto the cusp of qualification.

Battle For Top Place As Ghana Hosts Kenya

Kenya and Ghana will battle for top spot in 2019 Africa Cup qualifiers slated to take place in Ghana Accra on Saturday.

Both nations have already qualified for the tournament in Egypt, following a qualifying campaign that included the disqualification of Sierra Leone.

The Harambee Stars currently top the group with seven points from three fixtures. Kenya beat Ghana 1-0 in Nairobi lasy year thanks to an own goal from Nicholas Poku in the first half.

By Kussam Kalema, Senior Reporter

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Villa’s Bamweyana Hasn’t Won A League Game In 5 Games, Fans Bitter

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HAVING drawn his fifth game in nine games, coach Douglas Bamweyana may be sacked at SC Villa who are fighting relegation in the StarTimes Uganda Premier League.

Bamweyana took the SC Villa job in November last year. He has only managed to win two games, lost two and drawn five.

Angry Villa fans threw tables at Namboole and called for his sacking. “Banweyana may lead us into problems like he did at Express so management must be careful we are tired of his dull tactics,” one angry fan said.

Bashir Mutanda scored for SC Villa and Alfred Onek got an equalizer for Bright Stars who put up a wonderful display as the game ended 1-1. Villa are 12 and three points off the relegation zone which is worrying Jogo fans. Villa have not won a game in the last five games of the league. They take on Vipers, tomorrow a game that is anticipated by many as a cracker on and off the pitch.

 

Last five games played by Villa:

Paidha 0 – 0 SC Villa

Villa 0 – 1 BUL              

Police 2 – 2 SC Villa             

Nkambi Coffee 2 – 0 SC Villa

URA 1 – 0 SC Villa        

SC Villa 1 – 1 Bright Stars

 

By Kussam Kalema, Senior Sports Writer




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