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Usmanov ups share in Gunners

Alisher Usmanov has increased his shareholding in Arsenal beyond the 29% mark having made a pledge not to sell his shares after American Stan Kroenke triggered a buyout in April.

Usmanov is the second biggest shareholder in the club behind Kroenke, whose holding has increased to 66.1% amid a takeover bid.

Usmanov's Red and White Holdings company announced in a statement on the London Stock Exchange's Regulatory News Service: "Red & White Securities Limited (''Red & White") today announces that it now holds a stake of over 29% in Arsenal Holdings plc (''Arsenal").''

The Uzbek billionaire, who declined Kroenke's offer of £11,750 per share, has recently been critical of the Arsenal board and the role they have played in the club's failure to win a trophy for six years.

The 57-year-old is not a board member and said in an interview with a Sunday newspaper: ''If the role of a board member is to oversee a trophyless period, while making significant personal profits and asking fans to pay inflation-busting ticket price increases then, no, I would not want to be on the board.

''If instead it is to try to deliver sustained success, to increase your personal investment in the club, to help develop the commercial position and to ensure the fans have a say in the running of the club then, yes, I think I certainly have something to contribute.''

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