Manchester City parent company add Belgian team to their stable | Football

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.”

City Football Group have taken majority stakes in three clubs, plus investments in five others worldwide:

Majority shareholdings

Manchester City
Bought in 2008. Over £1.3bn invested so far.

New York City USA
City co-founded the new $100m MLS franchise with the New York Yankees in 2013. Won the Eastern Conference last year, reaching the semis of the MLS Cup Play-offs.

Melbourne City Australia
Founded in 2009 as Melbourne Heart, the club was bought and rebranded by City five years later. Now features thriving men’s, women’s and youth teams based at an £8m academy opened in 2015.

Lommel SK Belgium
Second-division club becomes the ninth in the portfolio in May 2020. Ferran Soriano talks up Lommel’s ‘culture, training facilities and commitment to youth development’.

Other investments

Yokohama F. Marinos Japan
Originally a works team set up as Nissan Motors FC in 1972. Caught City’s eye in 2014 and now their “official global automotive partner”, a deal renewed for five more years last July.

Club Atlético Torque Uruguay
Targeted by City in 2017 as a base for scouting, signing and developing South American talent. Promoted to the Primera Division inside the first 12 months of City’s investment.

Girona Spain
Alongside Girona Football Group, the agency owned by Pep Guardiola’s brother Pere, City took over the newly promoted La Liga club as equal partners in August 2017.

Sichuan Jiuniu China
Founded in Chengdu in Sichuan Province in 2006, the third-tier club was taken over last year, with City becoming co-owners.

Mumbai City India
City took a 65% stake in the Indian Super League side last November. Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor owns the remaining 35%. Stars have included Nicolas Anelka, Diego Forlán and Freddie Ljungberg.

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.

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