By Paul Nicholson
February 20 – City Football Group (CFG) has confirmed the seventh edition to its stable of football clubs with a position in the ownership group of Sichuan Jiuniu FC in China.
CFG has acquired the third tier Chinese club in the province of Chengdu alongside China Sports Capital (which was established in 2017 with funding from China Media Capital – a minority owner in CFG) and Manchester City’s AI and robotics technology partner UBTECH.
Ferran Soriano, CEO of City Football Group said: “Today marks an exciting new chapter in the growth of City Football Group. China is an extremely important football market, which we have been focused on for some time. We are delighted to welcome Sichuan Jiuniu FC to our Group, alongside our partners, China Sports Capital (CSC) and UBTECH. We see this as a natural extension of our existing activities.”
CFG will oversee the running of the club in a country where it has established some roots via community projects based around football education and Man City coaches working in schools and academies. CFG has representative offices in Shenzen and Beijing. Mancehster City were the first club to enter a branded team in the FIFA Online esports competition.
“We believe strongly in the future of football in China. We are making a long-term, sustainable commitment to grow and develop Sichuan Jiuniu FC and to nurture Chinese footballing talent. These objectives are equally important. Our immediate focus will be strengthening our football performance, using all of our experience and know-how, forging a strong relationship with our fans and building a strong presence in the community. We cannot wait to get started,” said Soriano.
Last season Sichuan Jiuniu finished 12th in the 14-team Southern division of League Two, though the ambition of the partners is considerably greater.
“Today is an important moment for football in China. We all have a dream to develop Sichuan football and Chinese football. Sichuan Jiuniu Football Club was formed by the 2017 Sichuan National Games U20. The team reflects the spirit of Sichuan football. It is very exciting for a young and promising team to join as a family,” said James Zhou, Founder and CEO, UBTECH.
“We hope that the Sichuan Jiuniu Football Club will become a century-old club with an open and inclusive attitude.”
Part of that inclusiveness will likely include tapping into playing talent from CFG’s over clubs which include Manchester City, Melbourne City of the A-League and MLS franchise New York City Football Club, Yokohama F. Marinos of the J-League, Club Atlético Torque in the Uruguayan league and FC Girona of La Liga.
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