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Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Wednesday, 18 August 2010 14:42 UK

Arsenal back new 'Fanshare' ownership scheme

Arsenal supporters
Backed by the club, 'Fanshare' has been set up by the Arsenal Supporters' Trust

Arsenal have backed a groundbreaking new scheme which aims to give its fans more influence in the club's affairs.

The new 'Arsenal Fanshare' initiative is a means of buying small fractions of full shares at an affordable price.

Ownership of a single 'fanshare' - one hundredth of an actual share - means a member has the chance to ask questions of the directors and vote on policy.

The Gunners are currently majority-owned by four shareholders, all of whom collectively support the new scheme.

Set up by the Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST), the aim of the scheme is not for Arsenal to be taken over by fans - but to allow more supporters to have greater involvement in the club's future, much like supporters of Barcelona, for example, are able to do in Spain.

Arsenal Fanshare has been established to increase supporter ownership and representation

AST spokesman Tim Payton

A single share in Arsenal Holdings PLC currently trades at more than £10,000 each.

But - to buy one 'fanshare' - supporters will be invited to pay a minimum of £100, either up front or in £10 monthly contributions.

In return a member secures full shareholder's rights, which includes the chance to attend the club's annual general meeting.

The backing from Arsenal's majority shareholders Stan Kroenke, Alisher Usmanov, Danny Fiszman and Lady Bracewell-Smith - who between them own almost 88% of the shares - could be viewed as significant.

"The support Arsenal Fanshare has from all of the club's major shareholders should allow all talk of a takeover to be put to one side," said Arsenal Fanshare board member and AST spokesman Tim Payton.

"Arsenal Fanshare has been established to increase supporter ownership and representation.

"We urge all Arsenal fans to take this opportunity and get involved - by working together we can make Arsenal even stronger."

In January this year, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis told BBC Sport that he did not expect American sports tycoon Kroenke - who was close to owning enough shares to trigger an offer for the entire stockholding - to launch a full takeover.

The AST, which campaigns against Arsenal being bought by one rich individual and collectively speaks for roughly 3% of its overall equity, hopes that a significant portion of the club's support will take up the chance to own 'fanshares' in order to amass them together.


"We believe it is fundamentally helpful to the club to have supporters who are active and engaged," Gazidis told The Guardian on Wednesday.

"The important thing is that supporters are valued and nurtured, not exploited.

"That is good for the club's soul, and for its all-round health."

Arsenal will promote the scheme at Saturday's Premier League match against Blackpool, with promotions in the programme and on advertising screens.

Supporters will also be able to sign up to the scheme online.

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see also
Arsenal boss upbeat about future
03 Mar 10 |  Business
Ferguson defends Man Utd owners
29 Jul 10 |  Man Utd
Arsenal do not expect Kroenke bid
08 Jan 10 |  Arsenal
Arsenal takeover bid 'imminent'?
22 Oct 09 |  People and Places
Mansour takes control of Man City
23 Sep 09 |  Man City
Edelman calms Arsenal takeover talk
30 Sep 07 |  Football

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CNN Arsenal back new 'fanshare' scheme - 2 hrs ago Arsenal share scheme misses the target - 16 hrs ago


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