City Football Group (CFG)
Manchester City are the vital centerpiece in the group of football clubs spreading around the world, which are part of the City Football Group (CFG). CFG is owned by Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) (87%) and the China Media Capital (CMC) Consortium (13%).
The group already spans across the globe, in a network of clubs where playing models and expertise are shared. The stated ambition being a truly global enterprise characterized by beautiful football.
Currently, the CFG comprises in addition to Manchester City – New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohoma F Marinos, Club Atletico Torque, Girona, and Sichuan Jiuniu.
There have been long rumoured plans to extend the reach of the CFG into the Indian subcontinent, mainly because it is considered a significant growth market in football, given the massive interest in the sport in India and the limited current reach of the Indian Super League.
City have been carefully looking for the right club to invest in and at the right point in the market. It is this due diligence which has finally secured a Chinese club after some four years of planning this Summer, albeit a lower division club with room to grow.
“Manchester City owners are poised to finalize a deal to buy Indian Super League side Mumbai City FC ahead of their new season starting next month. The City Football Group have held talks with several Indian clubs as they seek to expand their global reach,” the report said without quoting any official or source.
“Mumbai City FC are now their preferred choice, and negotiations with the club’s CEO Indranil Das Blah are almost complete,” it added.
If reports are to be believed, the city are about to announce Mumbai City FC as the newest club in the CFG stable. This is an Indian Super League Club playing in the largest city in India – Mumbai.
Mumbai is a center of business, arts, and finance and has a massive density of millionaires. Providing a football club for this market would be the kind of exciting project you can imagine Sheikh Mansour to be interested in.
Mumbai City FC are currently jointly owned by a Bollywood Star and an accountant and play in an 8000 seater stadium, which is usually full. One stand has been converted into a premium hospitality suite and tends to be used by the owner.
Benefits for Mumbai
Apart from the financial muscle that the group would bring in, the main thrust would be leveraging technical know-how of this group. For one, the City Football Group’s effective recruitment system has seen them scout and sign talented players for their respective clubs in recent years. It was their incisive scouting, which allowed them to find Bruno Fornalis for Melbourne City FC. The Uruguayan, a relatively unknown striker, withered up quite the storm in the A-League, winning the A-League golden boot in his debut 2015/16 season. He also became the quickest to reach 30 goals in the A-League, while in his four seasons with Melbourne, he ended up scoring 54 goals!
With Modou Sogou’s prolific run last season reiterating their trust on foreign strikers, perhaps if the CFG can help the Islanders get equally prolific strikers or creative outlets, the sky’s the limit for Jorge Costa’s men. Moreover, there’s always the philosophy for using the network of clubs in exchanging players with each other and sending Man City youngsters to their sister clubs for exposure.
Some connections are already visible between Manchester and Mumbai City FC. Ex-Manchester City striker Nicolas Anelka was both a player-cum-manager at Mumbai City, and Peter Reid was also a manager at both clubs.
The new season in the Indian Super League kicks off on 24 October, and it is widely expected an announcement will be made before the opening games. In recent weeks the press has been full of denials about any potential purchase, but these seem too stringently denied.
Joining Manchester to such a vast new City club can only reap benefits going forward, and we look forward to watching this story develop over the coming days.
No Specific Answer from Owners
Earlier, an official of the Ranbir Kapoor co-owned side, when contacted, said, “It is conjecture.”
Blah himself refused to comment when asked if Mumbai City FC may be bought by CFG. “I have no comments,” he said.
According to the media report, Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano had confirmed in March that the group wanted to enter the Indian market this year.