February 19 – City Football Group (CFG), the multi-club holding company that owns Manchester City, New York City FC and Girona, among others, looks set to add to its club portfolio with a third tier team in China.
Reports are that CFG chief executive Ferran Soriano is in China to announce the acquisition of Sichuan Jiuniu tomorrow.
CFG took a 13% investment stake from China Media Capital in 2015 which sparked speculation that they were about to buy a club in the Chinese Super League. No such acquisition materialised but the group and its clubs have been active in the country.
CFG has opened two representation offices in Beijing and Shenzen with a focus on developing local players. It has also helped fund an academy in Beijiing.
Amongst a number of local marketing and media initiatives, Manchester City expanded their global esports presence by becoming the first Premier League club to launch a FIFA Online team in China.
Jiuniu is based in Chengdu in the Sichuan province. The club established in 2006 after the disbandment of the Chinese Super League side Sichuan Guancheng and play in League Two at the 42,000-seat Longquanyi Stadium.
CFG’s more recent club acquisition strategy has been to invest in clubs where the opportunity of promotion and player development is greater than buying outright an established top tier club.
CFG bought into Girona in their first year of promotion to LaLiga’s top tier and similarly bought Club Atletico Torque who gained promotion to Uruguay’s First Di vision in the first year of CFG ownership.
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