Whether or not Alisher Usmanov has reached the 30 per cent shareholding of Arsenal he’s been after, the Premier League have made it clear in their new rulebook that it won’t entitle him to any privileged information. Their definitions of directors and control of clubs have not changed from last year, but they have inserted a new rule as follows:
A.1.46: For the purposes of Rules H.1 to H.10 [those dealing with the definition and reporting of material transactions and other financial information], a person shall be excluded from the definition of Director set out in Rule A.1.45 if (and only if):
(a) he falls within the said definition of Director solely because Rule A.1.42(b) [ie he’s got 30 per cent] applies to him; and
(b) his aggregate interest (of the kind set out in Rule A.1.42(b)) in the shares or other securities conferring voting rights exercisable at general meetings of the Club is less than 50%
Or simply: the Premier League can still call you a Director if you have 30%, even if you’re not on the Board, but they can also say you’re not a Director unless you have 50%, if that suits them better. And if you’re not on the Board you don’t have to sign off the financial reports unless you have 50% of the shares.
PS: To answer a couple of points in the comments, Arsenal don’t currently pay dividends and there is no suggestion thus far from Stan that he is going to change this or siphon off ‘management fees’ of tens or hundreds of millions in the manner of the Glazers. However, if he did want to there is nothing anyone can do to stop him, and Usmanov having 30 per cent doesn’t change that. Stan can use his majority to vote himself any pay rise, dividend (as long as he gives the same to the other shareholders) or fee that he wants. What he can’t do, because it would need a 75 per cent majority vote, is make fundamental changes to the company structure.
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