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Bahrain invests in Paris FC

Ali Abdi of Paris FC during the 2019-20 Ligue 2 match versus Lens (by Baptiste Fernandez/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Paris FC has announced that Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund has acquired a 20-per-cent stake in the French Ligue 2 football club and will become its main sponsor.

Paris FC, which finished 17th in the shortened 2019-20 Ligue 2 season, said the Kingdom of Bahrain will become a strategic partner through its sovereign fund. The operation has been carried out through a capital increase to strengthen the club’s equity, with chairman Pierre Ferracci remaining the main shareholder with a stake of 77 per cent.

French newspaper L’Équipe reported the 20-per-cent stake is worth €5m ($5.85m), valuing the club at €25m, which is considered relatively high for a Ligue 2 outfit. In addition to this investment, the Bahraini fund becomes the main sponsor of the club under the ‘Explore Bahrain’ banner in an effort to promote the nation in France and across Europe.

Paris FC is seeking to reach Ligue 1 in the next three years and will support its new shareholder in the development of training for coaches and young players in Bahrain. The club said: “Paris FC enthusiastically welcomes this new foreign investor and welcomes the confidence shown to develop its project while retaining its identity and strategic vision.

“The club has taken a new step and continues to grow thanks to the strengthening of its resources, and in particular this new contribution, which will provide a budget increase of 30 per cent. It is a great opportunity to bring the club into a new era and to achieve its sporting, educational and social goals.”

Bahrain’s investment in Paris FC comes with Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) having owned Paris Saint-Germain since 2011. Paris FC said further investors could follow.

Bahrain already has a high-profile presence in sport having become the majority shareholder in McLaren Group, parent company of the eponymous Formula 1 motor-racing team, through its Mumtalakat Holding Company. The emirate holds a 56-per-cent stake in the Formula 1 team and has hosted F1 races since 2004.