Manchester City owner to invest in Indian club this year
5 March 2019
City Football Group’s CEO says after looking into the idea for two years, he expects the firm to buy into an Indian club this year.
The chief executive of City Football Group (CFG), Ferran Soriano, has announced that the company is looking to expand its portfolio of football clubs by investing in India.
The group, which owns Manchester City, bought a stake in Chinese team Sichuan Jiuniu just two weeks ago, and Soriano says his firm is now set to make an entrance in India.
"We have some interest in some markets and countries where there is a genuine football passion and opportunities, like China, but also India," said Soriano.
"So there might be other opportunities in Asia. With all these developments, we have to be patient. We've been looking at India for nearly two years now. I'd say this year we'll end up doing an investment in India.
Multi-owners want more
CFG is a holding company that administers association football clubs under the ownership of Abu Dhabi United Group. The company is without doubt the most significant multi-club owner in world football right now.
The company was created in 2013 when New York City FC was purchased, becoming the second team under its ownership after Manchester City.
As we see it now, there is a natural pace of growth that we will follow that takes us to more than seven teams, but not 100 teams
CFG also owns Australia’s Melbourne City FC, Uruguay’s Club Atlético Torque, Girona FC in Spain alongside Chinese club Sichuan Jiuniu and is a minority shareholder in Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos, which is primarily owned by Nissan.
"As we see it now, there is a natural pace of growth that we will follow that takes us to more than seven teams, but not 100 teams,” said Soriano and continued:
"To complete the vision that we had six years ago, I think we will have maybe two or three more clubs."
MCO up for debate
Multi-club ownership (MCO) has been debated in the football world for several years. Some call it the future of the business and a way to generate talent more directly without a third party. But others see possible problems related to companies owning more and more clubs.
One issue cited by some is that competitive concerns can arise if two clubs are in the same club competition - for example Girona and Man City in Champions League. Multi-ownership can also give clubs a competitive advantage by loaning players around the group.
On top of this, partner clubs pay licence fees to the owners, which is considered a way of getting around the financial fair play (FFP) rules. However, no actual case has yet been brought about FFP regulations being undermined by MCOs.