Thursday, October 25, 2012


Arsenal will be able to compete with the world's biggest and best clubs as UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations become more rigorously enforced, chief executive Ivan Gazidis told shareholders at the Gunners' annual general meeting on Thursday morning.

Lacklustre displays of the team 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, Chief Executive Gazidis sees positives times ahead, with UEFA imposing tighter controls on club spending in relation to revenue over the next couple of years.

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.

Wenger has not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup but the Frenchman maintained qualification for the Champions League should retain value ahead of just any old silverware.

He added that securing qualification for the Champions League is a bigger 'trophy' than winning the FA Cup. 

He told the audience: "For me there are five trophies: Premier League, Champions League, the third is to qualify for the Champions League, the fourth is the FA Cup and the fifth in the League Cup.

"A player does not want to know if you've won the League Cup."

The Frenchman also appealed for calm and renewed support from Arsenal fans after a poor recent run of form.

"I used to say to the players 'our job is not to talk, but to produce performances', so I am not very comfortable to speak to you," he added.

"I know there seems to be a lot of dissatisfaction and I can understand but it’s important we don’t go overboard.

"We hit a wall in the past two games in an unexplainable way, but this team can deliver. I am optimistic."

Earlier, fans took the club's hierarchy to task at their annual general meeting after a satirical flyer was handed out to supporters, with chief executive Ivan Gazidis the main target.

With the club sat ninth in the Premier League table following an indifferent start to the new campaign, the losses to Norwich and Schalke within the last five days have led disgruntled fans to distributing the spoof leaflet.

The flyer lists six criteria to become a member of the Arsenal board, with rising ticket prices and a lack of improvement on the pitch given notable exposure. It reads:

"1. Ensure best players are sold each summer.

2. Punish fans in the pocket (again).
3. Keep on that top 4 is a trophy.
4. Spin about the club's ambition.
5. Gamble by placing all eggs in the FFP basket, with no plan B.
6. No silverware required. Package: £2.15m PER YEAR."

The leaflet then finishes on the line "ever get the feeling that you're being ripped off?"


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