The decision all but squashes the initiative laid out by billionaire Alisher Usmanov to gain control of the club. The Russian, whose company "Red and White Holdings" recently upped its stake to 23 percent, has said he planned to add to his shareholding if other major shareholders would sell to him at the right price. The only other major shareholder not on the Arsenal board is American billionaire Stan Kroenke, owner of MLS's Colorado Rapids.
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood said the board's agreement is for a total of five years and can only be terminated by the parties on its third anniversary, which would be Oct. 18, 2010. "The Arsenal board is committed to the principle of developing the long-term stability of the club through maintaining a business that pays its own way," Hill-Wood said in a statement.