Major shareholder, Alisher Usmanov, has invested $100m in a group of eSports companies.

Vitrus.pro is the name of the project and is apparently seen as one of the leading eSports organisations in the world and the ‘undisputed leader of the Russian market,’ consisting of teams competing in a number of ‘key disciplines’ that have won more than 250 awards at a variety of world level competitions.

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov (C) attends the UEFA Champions League Last 16, first leg football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at The Emirates Stadium in north London on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK
Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov (C) attends the UEFA Champions League Last 16, first leg football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at The Emirates Stadium in north London on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK

The project, which could top the initial $100m investment, will see a number of companies coming together to organise international tournaments and leagues as well as producing content across a number of platforms for their audience of some 30million people.

Ivan Streshinsky, a member of the board of directors of USM Holdings, Usmanov’s company, said “ESports [is] a unique phenomenon, located at the intersection of sports, business media and the Internet.

“This [is a] fast-growing market, which has already managed to win a huge audience interest throughout the world.

“In turn, Virtus.pro acts as a flagship for the eSports industry in Russia.

“I am confident that the support of the USM will give a new impetus to the development of this community and to bring his designs to a new level.”

Usmanov recently wrote to Arsenal to ask them to explain the £3m payment issued to Stan Kroenke’s company for consultancy services. He is unlikely to get an answer if the AGM is anything to go by.

When quizzed about the payment on Thursday, Arsenal chairman, Sir Chips Keswick, threatened to stop proceedings while adding “We should not be in a position where we expect these things to come for nothing – that would not be good governance.

“I would remind you that KSE is one of the most respected sports organisations in the United States. This has contributed to our positive evolution in a number of areas. 

“Finally, I’d remind everyone that we have a majority owner who is respectful of our traditions.”

Despite being Arsenal’s second largest shareholder, it is claimed that Usmanov has never met Kroenke.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.