March 7 – Premier League Manchester City’s owners City Football Group could invest in Indian Super League franchise Mumbai City FC. The English giants have long been linked to Indian and adding a local club to their ever-growing portfolio.
Last month the City Football Group, owned by Abu Dhabi United Group, a private investment firm of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, acquired Chinese second division club Sichuan Jiuniu as part of their expanding global network of clubs and strategy to open up the Far Eastern markets. The group’s portfolio already includes New York City (MLS), Melbourne City (A-League), Yokohama F Marinos (Japan), Club Atletico Torque (Uruguay) and FC Girona (Spain).
“We have some interest in some markets and countries where there is a genuine football passion and opportunities, like China, but also India,” said Manchester City’s CEO Ferran Soriano.
“There might be other opportunities in Asia. 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.”
In January 2018, Soriano attended the Indian Super League match between Jamshedpur FC against Mumbai City FC. He had been invited by Tata Steel, who own the Jamshedpur club. Former City star Nicolas Anelka, ex-United hero Diego Forlan and one-time Arsenal star Freddie Ljungberg have been among Mumbai’s marquee players and were managed by Peter Reid in their inaugural season in 2014.
“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,” explained Soriano.
It is the group’s intention to add an Indian arm to their network by the end of 2019. The Mumbai franchise is owned by Ranbir Kapoor and will compete in the semi-finals of this season’s ISL. They face Goa over two legs.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1553169473labto1553169473ofdlr1553169473owedi1553169473sni@o1553169473fni1553169473