City Football Group hint at investment in Indian club this year
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
The group is looking to expand its investment in Asia following the acquisitoon of a stake in a Chinese third-tier club.
The City Football Group is considering making their next investment in an Indian club soon, after already having bought stakes in seven different clubs around the world. Having recently bought stakes in a Chinese third-tier team Sichuan Jiuniu FC last month, the group now wants to increase their portfolio all over the world.
Chief executive Ferran Soriano seems to be very interested in buying an Indian team after being impressed by the growth of football in the country over the past few years. He spoke of the developments and about an interest in the Indian market, saying, “We have some interest in some markets and countries where there is a genuine football passion and opportunities, like China, but also India. So there might be other opportunities in Asia.”
He further added, “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." This could be a huge deal for Indian football, as knowing the might and financial strength of the City Football Group, any investment will be a substantial one for whichever club they aim to buy.
The group already has some well-known clubs under its portfolio, having shares in New York City FC, Girona FC, Melbourne City FC, Yokohama F. Marinos and Atletico Torque. They’ve helped in the considerable development of these clubs in recent years, while also improving the infrastructure and financial stability of the club with their investments.
Not only will they bring a brand name and spotlight on whichever club they decide to invest in, there’s also the chance for them to help improve the grassroots level of Indian football. There is also a possibility of Manchester City or any of the teams under the City Football Group coming to India in the next few years for promotional events or even pre-season friendlies, like Girona did last year.
When explaining the long-term plan for the City Football Group, Soriano also added, “I cannot see 10 years ahead, but the group might have two or three teams more. Is this going to change in five years and we're going to have more? Maybe, I don't know that."
"But to complete the vision that we had six years ago, I think we will have maybe HAVE two or three clubs more,” he opined to the BBC. The group definitely means business and will only invest in the club they deem worthy of taking to a higher level.
He said that they could add two or three more clubs in the next year or two, after striking a ten-year, £650m kit deal with Puma which covers five of their seven clubs.
While the Indian Super League (ISL) clubs will be preferred due to their market value, certain I-League clubs can also use their reputation to strike a stunning deal with the cash-rich group. Exciting times lie ahead for Indian football and if the group decide to invest in it, one can always expect bigger and better things ahead for the growth of the domestic game.
They have been in continuous talks with the Football Sports Development, the operational body of the ISL, regarding the acquisition of several clubs like Mumbai City FC, FC Pune City and NorthEast United. Due to the similarity with their brand and the needs of the city, Mumbai City look to have an edge over other clubs in this race.
Published: Tue Mar 05, 2019 05:23 PM IST