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EUROPE > Shareholder turns fire on Arsenal board

LONDON - Reuters

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Robin Van Persie shocked Arsenal announcing that he will not be extending his contract at the London club. The Dutch player was the biggest star at Arsenal. AP photo

Robin Van Persie shocked Arsenal announcing that he will not be extending his contract at the London club. The Dutch player was the biggest star at Arsenal. AP photo

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov attacked the club board today for a lack of investment and for failing to hold on to captain Robin van Persie beyond next year because of disagreement over the team’s future.

The open letter from Uzbek-born billionaire Usmanov, who has a stake of just under 30 percent, makes public his concerns over the running of the club, majority owned by American Stan Kroenke.

“It is down to our manager, and not the shareholders, to have to deal with the club’s tight finances, carry the burden of repaying the stadium debt by selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements,” he said.

A day earlier, manager Arsene Wenger learned that striker Van Persie, who scored 37 goals last season, would not renew his contract when it expires next year.

“Yet again we are faced with losing our true marquee player at the club because we cannot assure him of the future direction and give confidence that we can win trophies,” added Usmanov, who pointed out that his Red & White Securities group had invested around 200 million pounds in the club.

Arsenal has not won a trophy since 2005 but the team’s third-place finish last season guaranteed it a place in the Champions League.

July/05/2012

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