Gazidis: Gunners will compete

BY foxsports • October 25, 2012

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis insists Arsenal will be able to compete with the biggest clubs as Financial Fair Play is rigorously enforced.

Arsenal slumped to a 2-0 home defeat by Schalke in the Champions League last night, which followed on from a loss at Norwich at the weekend which left them 10 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.

The lacklustre displays have again brought the future of Arsene Wenger's side into question, as they look to recover from the ?24million summer sale of captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United and to end a trophy drought which now runs back to the 2005 FA Cup.

However, Gazidis sees positives times ahead, with UEFA imposing Financial Fair Play regulations on club spending in relation to revenue over the next couple of years.

At the club's AGM on Thursday morning, Gazidis said: "In the next two years, we will have the financial resources to sit and compete among the leading clubs in the world, which is an extraordinary achievement.

"Financial success is relevant because it supports our football vision... the money we make is made available to our manager and he decides how to invest those funds.

"Arsene has done a magnificent job against the spending of our major competitors."

Flanked by chairman Peter Hill-Wood and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, Gazidis added: "Our ambition is shared by everybody at this table, the whole board and by everyone in this room.

"It is all about football, to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe to win trophies and do it in a way which makes fans proud and reflects our values, and also protects Arsenal for the long term."

Wenger himself was also due to speak at the AGM.

One shareholder accused Gazidis of "ruining the club with your financial policies", and accused the board of valuing balance sheet before football success.

Kroenke, known as 'Silent Stan' for being very much in the background, addressed a question on whether dividends were to be paid to shareholders.

The American tycoon, whose group also owns US sports franchises Denver Nuggets of the NBA, Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer, Colorado Avalanche of the NHL and NFL side St Louis Rams, said: "This club is run through the board. I have always been respectful of that process.

"Aside from that, as majority shareholder it is clear we have a record in sports around the world and you can look at our record with our other clubs.

"We have never put any debt on this club for acquisitions (during the takeover) and never said money was not available to spend.

"We acquire through our own resources."

Kroenke, who completed his takeover of Arsenal's parent holding company in 2011, added: "I have one regret with Arsenal and that is that I did not get involved earlier.

"We have a record of reinvestment in our other clubs and it is there for everyone to see."