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City Football Group adds Mumbai City to club portfolio

Image: Mumbai City FC

City Football Group (CFG), parent company of English Premier League champion Manchester City, has today (Thursday) ended months of speculation by confirming a deal to acquire a majority stake in Indian Super League (ISL) club Mumbai City.

CFG will become the 65 per cent majority shareholder of the club, alongside existing shareholders, actor and film producer Ranbir Kapoor and Bimal Parekh, who combined will hold the remaining 35 per cent stake. CFG said completion of the investment remains subject to the approval of certain football bodies.

The deal means CFG’s operations will now include eight football clubs and football-related businesses in 13 offices around the world. Mumbai City joins Manchester City, New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Club Atlético Torque in Uruguay, Girona in Spain and Sichuan Jiuniu FC in China.

CFG has appointed its senior vice-president of partnerships, Damian Willoughby, as chief executive of City Football Group India. Willoughby will be relocating from Singapore to Mumbai in the coming weeks.

The deal continues a busy period for CFG. The Group yesterday confirmed a new equity investment from US private equity firm Silver Lake, valuing CFG at $4.8bn (€4.36bn). CFG has been heavily linked to an investment in Mumbai City in recent months. In May, Indian agency KWANAbler announced a partnership with CFG through which it will help to build commercial opportunities for the Group in India.

Chairman of City Football Group, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, said today: “We believe that this investment will deliver transformative benefits to Mumbai City FC, to City Football Group and to Indian football as a whole. City Football Group is committed to the future of football in India and to the potential for Mumbai City FC within that future.

“We are very much looking forward to playing an active role in Mumbai City FC’s fan and local communities, and working with our co-owners to further develop the club as quickly as possible.”

Chairperson of Football Sports Development Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Super League, Nita Ambani added: “It’s a landmark occasion that celebrates the remarkable rise of Indian football and brings to life our vision for the beautiful game in India.

“It is a great endorsement of the increasing appeal of Indian football and for all football fans in India, this is a moment to take pride in our football, our culture and the opportunity we present to the world in developing the sport. The power and potential of our youth makes India the most exciting global opportunity in the world today, in every field, and especially in sport.”

Mumbai City plays its home games at the 8,000 capacity Mumbai Football Arena, which sits within the Andheri Sports Complex, a multi-purpose sports facility. The team is currently five games into the sixth ISL season.