The Abu Dhabi-owned, British based company has truly established themselves as a global football organisation with a gigantic roster of ten clubs spread all across the world, in all continents, except Africa. Founded in 2013, City Football Group Limited is the brainchild of former FC Barcelona executive Ferran Soriano, who possessed the vision to lay the foundation for an organisation that would be responsible for the functioning of multiple football clubs.
It all began with CFG’s flagship club, Manchester City. Five years after Sheikh Mansour changed the face of the club with considerable financial investment, the club became a purveyor of a global brand – a symbol that started it all and upon which all the other clubs are modelled with the intention to synergise their investments. Take Melbourne City FC, the third club to be incorporated in CFG, for example. The A-League franchise, formerly known as Melbourne Heart FC, was rebranded into its current name and the club’s red-and-white home kit turned into the away kit. Manchester City’s historic sky blue colours, which was first adopted in 1894, would take over as the Australian club’s home kit.
However, it would be in New York City that CFG would begin its journey of establishing a global football empire. Coupled with the expertise of Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, Ferran Soriano announced New York City FC as MLS’ 20th expansion side in 2013 – less than a year after taking over the role of CEO at Manchester City.
Few months after Melbourne City were incorporated under the CFG roof in 2014, Japanese side Yokohama F.Marinos were staked in for 20% by the company in partnership with car manufacturers Nissan. With four clubs in the roster, the consortium put an immediate halt to any plans of further global expansions – until 2017.
During this period, the four clubs experienced only snippets of success. The best was yet to come. As Manchester City established domestic dominance and won two consecutive EPL titles in 2017/18 & 2018/19, CFG restarted its expansion process – this time stepping foot in South America. Uruguayan second-tier side Club Atletico Torque were taken over in April 2017, the same season they won the Segunda Division and experienced promotion for the first time in their short history. They were later rebranded as Montevideo City Torque.
Spanish second division side Girona were next on CFG’s list. In August 2017, the company purchased 44.3% ownership in the Catalonian club, which is half owned by the Girona Football Group led by Pere Guardiola, Pep Guardiola’s brother. While Yokohama F.Marinos won the J-League for the first time ever in 2019, CFG were busy at the same time acquiring controlling stakes in Chinese third tier side Sichuan Jiuniu and Indian club Mumbai City. Under the new ownership, Mumbai City overpowered opposition on the way to their first ever Indian Super League title in 2020/21.
Just as two clubs were inducted in 2019, 2020 witnessed the onboarding of two more – this time in Europe. Belgian second tier club Lommel SK and newly promoted Ligue 1 side ES Troyes AC were financially backed with significant CFG acquisitions.
With ten clubs onboard the CFG wagon, it may not be long before we witness another procurement by the Abu Dhabi backed consortium. The implications of the coronavirus pandemic has forced many top European powerhouses to cut down on their spending and one might even predict this year to be cut off from CFG’s acquisition books altogether. CFG recently raised $650m in one of football’s biggest debt deals to fund an infrastructure project for New York City FC. Also, as of the moment, high-profile transfers for Manchester City seem to be a major priority. Amid such investments, further acquisitions seem out of sight. However, one thing is for sure, many more clubs will be brought under the expanding umbrella in the coming years – led by Manchester City as the parent club.
According to statistics provided by top betting sites such as asiabet.org – which caters to punters and bettors in the Asian continent – bookmakers predict CFG’s primary founding football club and current Premier League champions Manchester City to retain the esteemed title in the 2021/22 season. Through the aforementioned site, players – regardless of newcomers or regular users – can benefit from additional bonuses and rewards, which may vary from free bets and cashbacks to accumulator insurances and loyalty schemes. One can also make use of the plethora of guides, tips and resources to enhance knowledge regarding the subject of betting, such as where to find the best odds, recommended sites and an overview of football betting markets.
The Cityzens have turned the English top flight on its head ever since the onset of the second decade of the 21st century, ousting blood rivals Manchester United into the background with their continued domestic success. Although continental success in Europe’s premier cup competition continues to elude the club, its parent company has conquered leaps and bounds with the acquisition of football clubs. From Manchester to Mumbai and Yokohama to New York City, the global football empire shows no sign of slowing down.
Credit to the versatile portfolio built by the consortium, Financial Times referred to CFG’s procurement of football clubs from all around the world as the ‘disneyfication’ of football. That’s how far-reaching the holding company’s reputation has grown to be.
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