Alisher Usmanov: 'Foreign owners good for Premier League'

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov insists that foreign ownership is good for the Premier League and is not having a negative impact on the identity of the English game.

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has insisted that foreign ownership of Premier League clubs is good for the English game.

Half of the top flight's teams are owned by non-English benefactors, including all of those sides currently occupying the top six places in the table.

Critics have suggested that the increasing influence of overseas shareholders is stripping the country's sport of its identity, but Usmanov, Britain's richest man with a personal fortune of £13bn, has stressed that foreign ownership is only criticised when clubs are not successful.

"It's an artificial question which somebody wants to put on the table," he told reporters. "Everyone who has legal right to buy something can perform this right.

"We have [Stan] Kroenke, [Randy] Lerner, many, many people and now many Asian owners. I think everyone is comfortable if the club are successful. If the club are not successful then, of course, everybody wants to find somebody guilty.

"I'm sure it is good [for English football]. When investors come and invest in the economy, in British football, it is a big part of the entertainment economy in the United Kingdom. What's bad?"

Usmanov has also repeated his public desire to take full control of Arsenal, if the club's majority shareholder, American Stan Kroenke, decides to sell his stake in the Emirates Stadium outfit.

Arsenal stakeholder Alisher Usmanov photographed in December 2004
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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