City Football Group, the parent company of Manchester City, has bought the Belgian club Lommel, making the second division team the ninth in its global portfolio.
“The investment further grows CFG’s global presence and focus on developing clubs, academies and players,” it said in a statement. “As part of CFG’s network of clubs, Lommel will contribute to and benefit from the sharing of knowledge and experience across the group.”
Lommel, based in the north of Belgium near the Netherlands border, play in the 8,000-seat Soevereinstadion and the CFG statement cited the club’s “strong academy and focus on youth development”. A new board will include Paul Kerkhofs, president of Lommel Not for Profit Foundation, from which CFG acquired the majority stake of the club.
Ferran Soriano, the CFG chief executive, said: “We are excited to welcome Lommel SK to City Football Group and to work with the fans and city to develop the club. Belgium is one of Europe’s best football countries as demonstrated by the success of the national team and development of world-class players, some of whom we know very well, like Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany.
“This investment is part of our long-term strategy to be present in key football countries, play beautiful football and develop talent. We were attracted to Lommel’s culture, training facilities and commitment to youth development and we look forward to learning from their approach and helping the club to evolve in the months and years ahead.”
Bob Nijs, the mayor of Lommel, said: “Lommel SK is an incredibly important part of our community. In City Football Group we have an ambitious, stable and reliable partner, which is committed to developing young players and will help the club to grow and succeed in the future. It is excellent news for the club and for the city.”
Lommel join, Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos, New York City, Melbourne City, Girona, Uruguay’s Atlético Torque, Sichuan Jiuniu of China and India’s Mumbai City under the CFG umbrella.