Welcome to the Quarterly Update for Shareholders covering the period up to and including 21st December 2012.
The topics covered in this update are as follows:
• Club overview
• Arsenal v West Ham United postponement
• Peter Hill-Wood’s health
• Emirates partnership extension
• Summer concerts at Emirates Stadium
• The Arsenal Foundation – update
• Premier League Financial Fair Play debate
• Arsenal membership on football governing bodies
• Interim Financial Results
As we enter the Christmas holiday season and New Year with many important matches coming up, I’d like to update you on some of the key activities which are happening around our football club.
While our defeat to Bradford City on penalties in the Capital One Cup was a huge disappointment to everyone associated with the Club, we are confident that we are moving in the right direction and can compete for trophies on multiple fronts.
Our majority owner Stan Kroenke, Arsène Wenger, the board, players and staff all understand that no other club has higher expectations and we are completely committed to not only winning trophies, but winning them in a self-sustaining manner.
We are all looking forward to playing in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League for a remarkable 13th straight season with the forthcoming matches against Bayern Munich, and although we always aspire to be at the top of the Premier League, we sit only two points from fourth place with more than half the season to come.
I am also delighted to report that we have agreed long-term contracts with five British players who will be central to our success as we move forward. Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, and Jack Wilshere have all committed their long-term futures to the Club. This is fantastic news for everyone associated with Arsenal Football Club. This is also a strong endorsement of what we are trying to achieve, their belief in our ambitions and our belief in them.
So we should look ahead to the rest of the season with excitement. It still has much to offer us and we will continue to stand together and drive for the success we all desire.
We are also pleased about many things we are doing off the pitch, related to our commercial and community activities, which I will discuss later in this update.
Arsenal v West Ham United – match postponed
As a result of the proposed industrial action on London Underground on Boxing Day, Arsenal’s Premier League match against West Ham United at Emirates Stadium, has been postponed.
This decision has reluctantly been made now to give supporters as much notice as possible and due to the preparation period needed to safely operate Emirates Stadium by all the relevant agencies.
The Club liaised closely with the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, London Underground, The Premier League, West Ham United FC and Islington Council, before reaching this decision.
The paramount concern was always the duty of care towards the Arsenal supporters, West Ham United supporters, Matchday employees and workers and indeed everyone who was planning to attend the match on Boxing Day.
We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused supporters. Tickets already purchased for this match are still valid for the rearranged date, which is yet to be confirmed.
Peter Hill-Wood’s health
I am pleased to report that our chairman Mr Peter Hill-Wood is now recovering after suffering a
heart attack at his home three weeks ago. He has undergone treatment in hospital and is now recuperating. Everyone’s best wishes are with him and his family.
Emirates shirt partnership extension
We have recently announced a new £150 million deal with Emirates which grants the airline a five year extension to their shirt partnership with the Club until the end of the 2018/2019 season.
As well as being one of the biggest deals ever struck in the game, the agreement, extends and deepens one of the strongest and most recognisable partnerships in sport.
We see this agreement as a testimony to our over-arching approach in terms of how we run the Club and to the capabilities and relationships we have developed in recent years not just in Europe, but around the World. It allows us to make more money available for investment in the team and the Club and I have no doubt this next phase of our relationship with Emirates will keep us at the top of the game in England and Europe.
Summer concerts at Emirates Stadium
The Club is in the process of seeking permission from Islington Borough Council to increase the number of concerts we can hold at the Emirates Stadium from three to as many as nine starting in 2014. We will hear the outcome of this application in the New Year.
This follows the success of last year’s sold-out performances by Coldplay which has resulted in significant interest from music promoters who see the Emirates Stadium as an outstanding concert venue.
We have announced three concert dates for next summer. Muse will appear on Saturday 25th May and Sunday 26th May 2013 and Green Day will play at Emirates Stadium on Saturday 1st June 2013.
Tickets for Muse can be obtained via the following sites:
www.gigsandtours.com (or calling from the UK 0844 811 0051)
www.ticketmaster.co.uk (or calling from the UK 0844 826 2826)
www.ticketline.co.uk (or calling from the UK 0844 888 9991)
www.ticketfactory.com (or calling from the UK 0844 338 0338)
Tickets for Green Day are available at the sites listed above plus: www.greenday.com
The Arsenal Foundation – update
Earlier this year we launched The Arsenal Foundation, a fundraising and grant-making organisation which aims to transform the lives of young people through a variety of education and sport projects here in London and abroad.
The Arsenal Foundation has already supported a number of projects, including those of our global charity partner, Save the Children, and other local good causes and Arsenal in the Community programmes.
In addition we continue to work hard to raise more money to support these initiatives. Our recent home match against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday December 8th was dedicated to The Arsenal Foundation and via a range of fundraising activity, we raised a fantastic sum in excess of £200,000.
As well as players and many staff donating a day’s wages, the matchday also saw generous donations from supporters through bucket collections, as well as raffles, online giving, sales of Arsenal scarves and 50 pence from every matchday programme sold contributing to the fundraising total.
We look forward to seeing the work of The Arsenal Foundation continue to grow and support more exciting projects throughout 2013 and beyond.
If you wish to make a contribution to The Arsenal Foundation, you can donate at http://www.justgiving.com/TheArsenalFoundation or by texting AFCF12 plus the amount (e.g. £2) to 70070.
Premier League Financial Fair Play debate
You will have seen that the Premier League Shareholder board, on which I sit, is currently debating the introduction of Financial Fair Play rules. There is broad consensus around the Premier League table on the need for rules to be introduced to bring some form of financial control to bear and the debate is now centred on the detail of those rules are and how they should be enforced.
As you know, we are strong supporters of the adoption of FFP rules akin to those adopted by UEFA and there is a developing consensus around this concept in the Premier League. These rules effectively preclude clubs from spending more than they earn over time and are designed to help rein in ever-spiralling expenditure on players’ wages and transfer fees. I believe this approach is good for the game as it will help assure financial stability for clubs and maintain levels of competition across Europe. I expect more developments on this in the New Year.
Arsenal Membership on football governing bodies
I am pleased to report that I have been appointed to two influential posts at the top of the game in Europe.
I have been named by the European Club Association (ECA) as their representative on UEFA’s primary policy-making body – the UEFA Professional Strategy Council. This comes as a result of my appointment to the ECA Executive Board. The ECA represents the interests of Europe’s top 207 teams. This includes 10 Premier League sides.
These latest appointments are in addition to my roles on the FA’s Professional Game Board (PGB), the FA Council and FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Chamber. I also continue as the chairman of the ECA’s Legal Advisory Panel and as a member of the Premier League Working Group for Elite Player Performance.
I believe these appointments are important for Arsenal as they provide us with a strong and influential voice at the decision-making table as the game faces up to the challenges of the future.
Interim financial results
The Interim Financial results for Arsenal Holdings plc will be announced in February.
The announcement will be made to the ICAP (previously PLUS) market and we will also issue the results simultaneously on the Shareholders’ Portal. All Shareholders will receive an official copy of the results document shortly after the announcement.
Although we haven’t announced a specific date yet, the announcement should be made within the last two weeks of February. Full details will be confirmed to all Shareholders in due course.
On behalf of the Directors, players and staff of Arsenal Football Club, I would like to wish all Shareholders an enjoyable holiday season and a happy New Year. Thank you for your continued support and here’s to a successful 2013.
Chief Executive Officer
21st December 2012