CFG add sixth club as Girona exploit their Man City links to join the corporation

By Paul Nicholson

August 24 – Manchester City owner City Football Group (CFG) has bought a 44.3% stake in LaLiga club Girona alongside Pere Guardiola, brother of Man City manager Pep, who will also own 44.3%. No value was put on the acquisition.

The club and its assets will be held in the newly created Girona Football Group. The remainder of the shares in the new company will be held by Girona fans.

Girona become the sixth club in the CFG portfolio and their first in Spain. Girona join Manchester City, Australian A-League Melbourne City FC, and MLS franchise, New York City Football Club and Torque in Uruguay’s Second Division. CFG is a minority shareholder in Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan’s J-League.

Talking about the Girona’s promotion to the top division for the first time in its history and the attractiveness of the club to CFG, City Football Group CEO Ferran Soriano said: “Girona FC and the City Football Group have the same ambition to stay long and achieve many successes in the First Division, but also the same way of doing things and common aspirations. For us it was very attractive to invest in the future of Girona. We will listen, learn and do everything in our power to support the club and its fans with the goal of achieving the long-term sustainability we so long for.”

Last week Manchester City were hosted by Girona for an early season training camp after just one game of the new Premier League campaign, in what was clearly a process of getting to know each other a bit better and cementing their new relationship. The visit included a friendly between the two clubs.

Man City have this season sent three players on loan to Girona: Douglas Luiz, a 19-year-old Brazilian midfielder signed from Vasco da Gama for £10 million on July 15; Marlos Moreno, 20, a Colombian winger signed from Atletico Nacional last year for £4.75 million; and Aleix Garcia, a Spanish defensive midfielder who has been with City since signing from Villarreal in 2015. They join 20-year-old Spanish full back Pablo Maffeo who first moved there on loan in January 2016, Olarenwaju Kayode, a £3.5 million Nigerian striker joining City from Austria Vienna, will join them.

Pere Guardiola said that the discussions between the partners had been going on since 2016 and before Girona had won promotion to Spain’s top tier. “Together, we are confident that we will give the club the backing it seeks, whether the support comes in the form of executive, financial or leadership help,” said Guardiola.

“I’m convinced that our fans and our shareholders will find in this investment tangible benefits in the coming weeks, months and years.”

Whichever way you look at the deal, and the talk from both CFG and Girona points to a close co-operation across the board including player development, it looks like Manchester City will be the dominant partner and likely the first priority as it seeks to establish itself as a continuously winning team amongst Europe’s elite.

Girona FC president Delfí Geli said: “Both partners have demonstrated a successful trajectory in their respective fields, so they can provide us with knowledge and support of incalculable value to continue the hard work that has been so successful in recent years; As well as to lay the foundations that allow us to fulfill our goal of consolidating ourselves as a club of the highest level.

“The City Football Group’s long-term strategy and respect for the heritage of its clubs has been evident in all its investments to date. We feel privileged to be part of this extended family, “added Geli.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1713608370labto1713608370ofdlr1713608370owedi1713608370sni@n1713608370osloh1713608370cin.l1713608370uap1713608370