City Football Group confirm Italian ambition with €13m Palermo buy

July 4 – City Football Group have confirmed the acquisition of a majority stake in Palermo FC who will play in Serie B next season having worked their way back from Serie D having been relegated for declaring bankruptcy in 2019.

No official value has been given for the acquisition but sources say that CFG have picked the club up for €13 million.

Palermo is 121 years old, has a 36,000-capacity stadium, played in Serie A as well as in Italian Cup finals. Between 2005 and 2011 Palermo played five times in the Europa League.

In 2019, after a series of attempts to put the club’s finances right (it was sold twice in three months and was struggling with debt of more than €22 million) Palermo was declared bankrupt and relegated to the semi-professional Serie D. The club was mid table in Serie B at the end of the 2018/19 season.

Last season the club, under coach Silvio Baldini, won their Serie C play-off to return to Serie A. Pundits reckon that with the addition of five or six players, they could return at the end of the upcoming season to Serie A.

Ferran Soriano, Chief Executive of City Football Group, said: “Palermo is a great and historic Club with a strong and proudidentity. We will work with Dario Mirri to continue his outstanding work to grow Palermo sustainably over the years ahead.This is a very special club, and our role will be to add value to all of the things which make it so special and steadilyimprove performance on and off the pitch, using our experience and know how.”

Palermo will be CFG’s eleventh club ownership and its fourth in Europe’s Big 5 league nations – alongside Premier League Manchester City, LaLiga’s Genoa, and Ligue1’s Troyes. Palermo will have the resources and potential player pool from its sister clubs to make a one-season return to Serie A under their new ownership.

CFG also owns New York City FC in the MLS, Mumbai City in the Indian Super League, and Melbourne City in Australia’s A League. All have won titles under CFG ownership.

Other clubs with CFG ownership are Lommel in Belgium, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Sichuan Jiuniu in China, and Montevideo City Torque in Uruguay.

“Italy is one of the world’s most exciting and passionate football countries, with a rich history of national team and club’s success, passionate supporters and a track record of fantastic footballers. We are delighted that City FootballGroup has extended its presence in Italy,” said Soriano.

Palermo are in big and ambitious company. While Manchester City are clearly CFG’s star which the other clubs generally revolve around, Palermo will clearly have its best opportunity since 1900 to establish itself as a leading contender in Italy.

Welcoming the new ownership, Dario Mirri, chairman of Palermo FC, said: “We wanted to find the right investor with adeep knowledge of football to help to continue to take us forward. We have that in CFG. We agreed the investment before the end of the season so we know we have a partner which is committed to growing Palermo in the right way. I am excitedto continue to work alongside CFG. They understand and respect the culture and traditions of our Club. We are embarkingon a project together which I know all of our fans will be proud of.”

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