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“Mumbai will rule ISL & IPL now!” Fans react as City Group buy Mumbai City

Football giants City Football Group (CFG), who own the reigning English Premier League champions Manchester City, have taken a massive step forward by acquiring a 65% stake in Indian Super League (ISL) side Mumbai City. The announcement was done by FSDL chairperson Nita Ambani along with CFG CEO Ferran Soriano.

Although famed European clubs foraying in Indian football was not a new thing, their involvement had been very limited. These included the likes of La Liga club Atletico Madrid, who owned ATK partly whereas Serie A side Fiorentina held only a 15 percent stake in the now obsolete FC Pune City.

Mumbai City will be the eight club in CFG portfolio besides the Manchester club, Melbourne City in Australia, New York City in the US, Girona FC in Spain, Yokohama F Marinos in Japan, and Sichuan Jiunia in China.

During the announcement, Soriano clarified that they have entered India for the long haul.

“We have been looking at this for years. I came myself and watched many games and we are now convinced of the bright future of football in India. I am sure 10 years from now, we will be here and we will be talking about a lot of people playing good football for India,” Soriano told.

He also quickly stressed that the group’s short-term goal will be to “learn about the club and culture” before adding that they would refrain from indulging in quick fixes and that the aim was to make the club self-sustainable.

“We are not here to import anything. We are here to unleash the power of Indian football. There are good players and coaches (In India), we will help them and helping means sharing experiences, sharing technology, inspiring them. That’s what we aim to do, to help the people who are already here to grow,” the former FC Barcelona general manager said.

“Our priority No 1 is to get to kids early. In New York, we started six years ago by bringing in the best coaches and coaching methodology for the kids who were aged seven, eight, and nine. Now that they are 14-15, and are winning against European teams. We need to approach the kids very early because there are certain things in football that can only be learned very early,” he added.

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