Football: Arsenal defend $6 million "advisory fee" to majority shareholder Kroenke

LONDON (AFP) - Arsenal chairman Chips Keswick has defended the board's contentious decision to pay £3 million (S$6 million) in "strategic and advisory fees" to the company of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

The fee was paid at a time when the north London club have the most expensive match-day ticket in the English Premier League at £97.

Arsenal's payments to Kroenke, who took over the Gunners in Apr 2011, were top of the agenda at the club's annual general meeting on Thursday.

However, Keswick said the board had no qualms about the decision and might very well use the firm of American businessman Kroenke in the future.

"This fee was proposed by myself and Lord (Philip) Harris (of Peckham) for the wide range of services provided to Arsenal Football Club by Kroenke Sports and Entertainment," said Keswick.

"KSE is one of the most respected and successful sports organisations in the United States, operating in the most sophisticated sports business market in the world.

"They have an extensive and long experience in modern sports management."

Keswick added: "There was no competitive tender for these services as they are directly available to us, and a tender process was inappropriate, and therefore unnecessary.

"We are entirely satisfied the fee was appropriate. In terms of any future fees, that would depend on the nature of the services provided."

Keswick also said the appointment of Kroenke's son Josh as a non-executive director in Dec 2013 "underlines the long-term commitment to the club from Stan Kroenke and KSE".