Premier League champions Manchester City owners have acquired a majority stake in the Indian Super League (ISL) side Mumbai City FC, Football Sports Development Limited chairperson Nita Ambani announced during a press conference on Thursday.
The City Football Group, which is owned by Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, bought a 65% stake in the ISL franchise. Bimal Parekh and Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor will retain the remaining 35%.
"Today we welcome a global footballing powerhouse to India, the ISL and Indian Football. I am proud to announce that the City football group has acquired majority stake in Mumbai City FC. For the first time, a European football club has acquired majority stake in an Indian club. What a big day for Indian football, what a dream come true for all the fans of Manchester City and Mumbai City FC." Ms. Ambani said.
She continued, "I wish the team (Mumbai City FC) all the very best as they usher into this new era of Indian football. I want to thank City Football Group for their belief in Indian football."
According to a statement from the CFG, the deal is meant to see Mumbai City FC benefit from the Group's expertise, while also delivering a new element to the Group's line-up. The Group already owns New York City FC, Melbourne City FC, Yokohama F. Marinos, Club Atletico Torque, Girona FC and Sichuan Jiuniu FC.
Co-owner Ranbir Kapoor spoke at the press conference via a recorded video. He said, "I am super thrilled with this development and with this partnership, we hope to replicate what Manchester City has done in the Premier League and improve further. Our aim at Mumbai City is to become the best club in Asia and this is a step in that direction."
City Football Group's CEO Ferran Soriano announced that the Group intend to invest in Indian football for the foreseeable future in order to help develop India's footballers.
"Indian players are going to become stars. We will help Indian players develop faster and with a purpose.
"The power is here, we just have to help with coaching, technology and opportunities and this is our aim for the long term and we are here to stay for the next decade or so and see Indian football flourish," said Soriano.
This marks a massive step for Indian football, and if City can come through with this promise, we should soon see more such acquisitions by big groups.