Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick has defended the second annual £3 million payment to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke. The American businessman has now received the figure twice in the last two years as advisory fees from his Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) company.
The revelation of the payment upset a section of Arsenal fans who were already up in arms at the fact the club only signed one player during the summer transfer window. But addressing supporters at the club’s annual general meeting, Keswick claimed the decision to use KSE allowed the board to make important decisions quickly:
“I felt it was right to pay a fee for a wide range of services provided by KSE.
“We should not be in a position where we expect these things to come for nothing – that would not be good governance. I would remind you that KSE is one of the most respected sports organizations in the United States.
“This has contributed to our positive evolution in a number of areas. Finally, I’d remind everyone that we have a majority owner who is respectful of our traditions.
“The best advice you can possibly get is the quick advice from people or organizations who know more about the problem than you do.
“If you’re humble enough to accept it you will go and get good advice. And that’s precisely what we do at Arsenal with KSE. I’m responsible ultimately for the money management of the club and making sure it’s well spent and I’m very determined that will continue to be the case.”
Keswick, who had to shoot down questions being called out from the floor, admitted there was no written contract with KSE to provide the support and went on to suggest the club should be thankful for the work done by Kroenke as they have ended a run of nine years without silverware. He added:
“The answer to your question cannot be codified and I will make no attempt to do so, except to say that we get the best advice as quick as we possibly can, and if you want proof of what that’s worth then you can look at this (the FA Cup), you can look at that (the Community Shield) and you can look at our accounts.
“Fees are advisory fees and I’ve already explained that you cannot codify when the timing or how you take them. It’s because of the continuity of the fees that the value of them is so important. And that is my answer and nothing further to add.”
Kroenke was present at the AGM but did not make a statement, with Keswick not allowing any questions from the floor to be aimed at the 68-year-old.
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