Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick has defended the board’s decision to pay £3million in “strategic and advisory fees” to the firm of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke. Kroenke gave little away in his brief speech. The American – once dubbed ‘Silent Stan’ for his preference to stay in the background – preferred to focus on the positives. “We are quite proud of what we have been able to accomplish. What a wonderful day at Wembley, to win the FA Cup was fantastic,” he said as he reflected on last season. “We had numerous opportunities to get involved in other clubs in Europe, we certainly wanted to get involved in Arsenal. It is a wonderful place. “We were long acquainted with Arsene Wenger’s success and proud to be with him. “We are pleased he has stayed on for a further three years and look forward to continued success.” Following a rousing speech from manager Arsene Wenger, several subjects were addressed at the meeting, which was less heated than in recent seasons following Arsenal’s FA Cup success over Hull in May. Those included whether the club had a succession plan in mind for when Wenger, who turns 65 later this month, eventually decides to step down, with the chairman stressing Arsenal would expect to be “spoilt for choice” over potential new managers when the time came. The cost of tickets, especially at away matches, and the limited allocation for Wembley were also raised, while chief executive Ivan Gazidis used graphs to try to explain the need for continued development of all revenue streams to keep the club competitive. The meeting closed with questions from the floor, with shareholder Nigel Payne pressing the board and Wenger over transfer policy. Payne, a renowned member of the Arsenal Fanshare scheme, was less than impressed by some of the responses. “Wenger promised he was going to replace Thomas Vermaelen after he was sold to Barcelona, but this has not happened and all I wanted to know was why,” he said. “I cannot believe the chairman and manager refused to answer a football-related question. Keswick asked Wenger if he would like to say anything about it and he said ‘no’. “This is the first time I have heard a chairman say Wenger is the only one at the club who has any say, transfer-wise. “If you are a managing director of a company and identify weakness and do nothing about it you are sacked. “Every single Arsenal fan knew we needed a defender and defensive midfielder and he (Wenger) did nothing about it.” Press Association Keswick, however, stressed the board had no issues over the decision, and was one it could look to implement again in the future. “This fee was proposed by myself and Lord Harris (of Peckham) for the wide range of services provided to Arsenal Football Club by Kroenke Sports and Entertainment,” he said. “KSE is one of the most respected and successful sports organisations in the United States, operating in the most sophisticated sports business market in the world. “They have an extensive and long experience in modern sports management. “It is of the utmost importance that as a club we use it to our best advantage to ensure we keep progressing. “There was no competitive tender for these services as they are directly available to us, and a tender process was inappropriate, and therefore unnecessary. “We are entirely satisfied the fee was appropriate. In terms of any future fees, that would depend on the nature of the services provided.” Keswick also moved to stress the appointment of Kroenke’s son Josh as a non-executive director in December 2013 “underlines the long-term commitment to the club from Stan Kroenke and KSE”. The Barclays Premier League club held their Annual General Meeting at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday, which offered shareholders the chance to submit written questions to the board. The issue over the payment to the American tycoon, who completed his takeover at the north London club in April 2011, was first on the agenda, and came following concerns from supporters at a time of rising ticket costs.
ZENITH /DELTA PRINCIPALS’ CUPThe venue of the kick off match of the 4th edition of Zenith Bank/ Delta Principals’ Cup football competition has been changed.Zenith Bank in partnership with the Delta State Government revived the competition only three years ago after several years in limbo. However, the opening match originally slated for the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba is now billed to take place at the St. Patrick’s College also in Asaba on Monday September 30.Isioma Onyeobi College Asaba is scheduled to clash with Niger Mixed Secondary School also of Asaba in the opening encounter to be witnessed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his executive council.The organisers of the developmental football tourney, Hideaplus Limited, explained that the change was necessary to enable the schools to have enough time to train on the pitch.CEO of Hideaplus, Tony Pemu, said the issues of having huge fans watch the opening match was also considered.Pemu Said: “We looked at all areas and wanted the young players enjoy the game. Turn out at the St Patrick is expected to be huge because it is centrally placed and the size will also be an advantage for an opening match.“The Stephen Keshi Stadium will still host the final match. We are making all the arrangements to ensure we start well.”The state Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Chief Patrick Ukah, said that all aspects of the competition will be very well organized because the Local Organising Committee was ready for a great tournament.“The participants will have huge fun because we have the best of everything and the governor is very passionate about this project,” Ukah said.Meanwhile, in some of the ongoing preliminary games, Ekpan Secondary School defeated Ebrumede Secondary School 3-0 while from Ugheli North, Ekredjebo Secondary School whipped Ofouma Secondary School 4-0 in another one sided encounter.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
Roman mythology has it that, in the days of the empire, a particular goddess was worshipped for fortune and luck.Fortuna, the goddess of luck, as she was called was badly sought, and though times have changed, she is still relevant.On December 6, 2013 at exactly 16:00 GMT, the world’s attention would be centered on a 90 minute event in Costa do Sauipe, a luxury holiday resort in Brazil.Indeed, while the whole event which is the final draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, is expected to be a mixture of sports and culture, it’s the last 35 minutes, when teams are drawn from the various pots into 8 groups of 4 teams that will be most engaging.More than ever, at this event, the company of Fortuna, now referred to as Lady Luck, will be sought relentlessly.Though you may verbalize your unbelief in her, I am sure, subconsciously, you do believe in her. If you will be honest, how many times haven’t you found yourself wishing she’s in your corner; at the toss of a coin, a dip, a pull of the slot machine lever or a roll of a dice? I bet you have and still do.So you see, no matter how you wish her away, Lady Luck is ever present; what matters however, is to have her in you corner.Ghana, like the other 31 teams that will go into the draw, will be silently courting her in order to have a kind draw, which will be a fairly easy group from which a team can easily qualify into the knockout rounds. Is that an unrealistic expectation?Will the final grouping be entirely Lady Luck’s call? Let’s travel in time and forecast what kind of draw awaits Ghana’s Black Stars.THE DRAW The Draw will be conducted by FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke in front of 1,300 guests, broadcast live in 193 countries and also streamed online.The 32 teams will be divided into four pots with each country’s name hidden within a ball. Balls will then be drawn from each of the 4 pots over 8 rounds, thus ensuring 8 groups of 4 teams. In order to ensure fairly balanced groups, 8 of the qualified teams will be seeded into pot 1.Brazil by virtue of being hosts will automatically be seeded with the other top ranked teams (Based on October 2013 FIFA rankings).Thus, the other seeded teams in pot 1 will be Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, Uruguay and guess who, guess who, Switzerland.The other three pots will be split by region in order to avoid teams from the same continent meeting each other. The exception here will be Europe who by virtue of having the largest representation of 13 teams cannot escape the possibility of meeting fellow European teams.The other pots are thus grouped as follows; Pot 2 (Iran, Japan, Australia, Korea Republic, USA, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras).Pot 3 (Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ecuador, and France)Pot 4 (Netherlands, England, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Russia and Bosnia-Herzegovina).Having gotten the mechanism of the Draw out the way, we can now look at what will constitute a mean draw (Group of Death) or a kind draw (Luck of the Draw) for Ghana. LUCK OF THE DRAWHello Lady Luck, this is where Ghana needs you. So, you may have heard a running argument that, to win the World Cup, you need to beat the best, so no need to seek a soft draw.Well, I’ve got news for you. The world cup is one month long and it is always best to warm up and peak at the latter stages.For that to happen, it is always advisable to meet weaker teams in matches where you can afford mistakes and smoothen rough edges to better prepare you to meet the top dogs in a better shape.So, I am all for a kind draw at the group stage and I have my own idea of what that should be. When Jerome Valke assisted by former World Cup Winners Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Lothar Matthaus, Zinnedine Zidane and Geoff Hurst begin drawing the balls from the pots, Ghanaians will hope for the luck of the draw rather than a group of death.A group of death for me will be when Ghana is drawn with Brazil, the strongest and of course the team with home advantage from pot 1; Japan clearly strongest from Pot 2 with technically gifted players like Keisuke Honda, Shinji Kagawa and Makoto; and then the Netherlands, the strongest from pot 4 will be another team to avoid.The draw to court, the luck of the draw for Ghana will be to be drawn alongside Switzerland, who despite their high FIFA ranking are surely the weakest from Pot 1; Honduras, who with English-based midfield duo Wilson Palacios and Roger Espinoza have some talents but are still awaiting a first world cup victory will surely be an easier pick from pot 2; and Bosnia Herzegovina, albeit with a compact and settled squad in the likes of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, strikers Vedad Ibisevic and Edin Dzeko, could have this being their debut appearance count against them, thus making them a favourite pick from pot 4.Should Switzerland, Honduras and Bosnia Herzegovina be grouped alongside Ghana, it would be a dream draw indeed.So folks let’s look for Lady Luck, treat her to some Ghanaian hospitality; Some “Waakye” maybe, “Tuo Zaafi” or perhaps Fufu with “akrantie”, washed down with some “nmle daa” alongside some Borborbor music. Surely, that should win her over or? Any ideas where we can find Lady Luck? The search is on!