By Paul Nicholson
January 12 – City Football Group, owner of 12 clubs including Premier League Manchester City, has expanded its network and deal-making strategy with the addition of Bolivia’s Club Bolivar as its first ‘Partner Club’.
The partnership is more in line with a co-operation agreement and marks a shift away from CFG’s previous club acquisition strategy via ownership and establishing financial stakes.
A Manchester City press release said: “Club Bolivar will be able to access a wide breadth of expertise, proprietary technology, best practice, and strategic advice developed by City Football Group over the past seven years through its multi-club structure.”
A significant part of the co-operation will be based around team performance and talent development with Club Bolivar having access to the group’s scouting, coaching and youth methodologies as well as its player performance monitoring Football Data and Insights platform.
However, it is the commercial side where Club Bolivar will see an immediate impact with the announcement that the club will switch kit suppliers from Joma to Puma from the start of the 2021 season in an initial five-year deal. No figure was given for the deal.
“On the business side, CFG will help Club Bolivar grow its partnership revenue, build world-class facilities, promote league-wide improvements, and support the development of its key executives,” said the Man City press release.
Club Bolivar, from La Paz, is Bolivia’s most successful club having won 29 league titles. The partnership will increase CFG’s presence and fledgling network in South America – its only owned-club on the continent is Uruguay’s Montevideo City Torque.
“This long-term agreement is the first of its kind and will enable Club Bolivar to draw down on and utilise the wide range of football industry expertise developed by City Football Group. As well as supporting Club Bolivar’s ambitions, we have an opportunity to learn. Our work in Bolivia will certainly strengthen our knowledge of, and network in, South American football,” said Ferran Soriano, chief executive officer of City Football Group.
For Club Bolivar the partnership is seen as a major opportunity to build commercial capacity as well as develop world class talent, both for the club and the national team.
“Club Bolivar joins the City Football Group family as a Partner Club, consolidating a long-term project developing world-class football, corporate and infrastructure standards that will enable Club Bolivar to become even bigger. We will utilize the expertise and advice that CFG brings to continue in our goal to place Bolivar as a top club in Latin America,” said Marcelo Claure, president of Bolivar.
“Club Bolivar aims to build a strong organization and develop players to help the nation qualify for the World Cup. This arrangement will allow Club Bolivar to call upon the significant experience and knowledge of City Football Group to help it realise its ambition to develop leaders on and off the pitch and give Bolivian kids the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com