Alisher Usmanov has increased his stake in Arsenal (Getty)

(WFI) Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov has increased his stake in Arsenal to over 29%.

The increase comes after Usmanov’s pledge not to sell his remaining shares after Stan Kroenke triggered a mandatory buyout last month when he became the majority shareholder at 66.1%.

Usmanov’s Red and White Holding company said in a statement: “Red & White today announces that it now holds a stake of over 29% in Arsenal Holdings plc.”

Red & White have purchased the shares for £14,000 each – which is £2,250 more than Kroenke offered.

Usmanov last raised his stake in December 2009 to 26% but after Kroenke’s takeover in April, he raised his stake once again to 28% and was very vocal in his criticism of the Arsenal board because of the club’s six-year trophy drought.

The move casts further doubt on a complete takeover by Kroenke after the Arsenal’s Supporters Trust also refused to sell their shares to the American as they want to retain fair representation at board level.

In 2007, Usmanov first got involved with the Gunners, buying 14.58% of shares from former chairman David Dein for £75 million.

Chinese Taipei’s Sets Out Football Vision
The president of the Chinese Taipei Football Association, Lu Kun-Shan, has announced his ambitions for the nation which includes a FIFA top 100 ranking by 2019, and the formation of a professional league by 2018.

Lu also spoke of his ambition for the country to reach the World Cup finals by 2038, and expects the AFC Vision Asia development programme to be instrumental in achieving such goals.

“I think joining Vision Asia will help me reach these targets,” he told the Asian Football Confederation’s website.

The CTFA will become the tenth AFC member association to take part in Vision Asia, and it has also expressed a desire to join the comprehensive development programme of the AFC.

The nation’s best result was when they finished third in the AFC Asian Cup in 1960, though their highest FIFA ranking was in 2006 when they reached 144.

But Lu admitted that part of his task was to make football the most popular sport in the country.

With a FIFA ranking of 160 for the men and 36 for women, football is far from being the most popular sport in Chinese Taipei. There are seven men’s teams and six women’s teams – but they are not professional.

“Only two men’s teams are long-term supported by the commercial enterprise while the others are in universities or are society clubs. The total population is 23 million in Chinese Taipei and we have about 460,000 players, 12,000 of whom are registered players,” he said.

Lu, a former player at university level, spoke of the encouragement needed at youth standard to move the sport forward. “I believe Vision Asia’s successful experiences and resources will help us a lot to overcome the challenges that we face,” said Lu.

By INSIDER’s Christian Radnedge

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