Khaldoon Al Mubarak on Daniel Arzani's Australia World Cup call up and progress of Melbourne City FC teams
Khaldoon Al Mubarak has spoken about the success of the Melbourne City men's and women's teams in Australia, saying the City Football Group are committed to supporting the growth of the game.
Melbourne's men's team finished third in this season's A-League behind champions Syndey FC and Newcastle Jets, while the women's team were crowned W-League champions for a third season in a row.
The Victorian club became part of the City Football Group following a takeover in January 2014, joining a stable that includes recently-crowned Premier League champions Manchester City as its crown jewel.
Commenting on the Melbourne men's team's season, Al Mubarak, chairman of Manchester City and the City Football Group, said: "It's been progress after progress. We achieved our best result this season in terms of standings. So the team continues to evolve, we're getting closer to winning the A-League.
"I have a lot of confidence with the manager [Warren Joyce] that we have and the team we have that next year will be a better season."
City Football Group are beginning to see the green shoots of the future in Melbourne with young players getting their chance in the first team. Defender Nathaniel Atkinson, 18, and 19-year-old attacking midfielder Daniel Arzani enjoyed breakout seasons, with Arzani recently called up to Bert van Marwijk's provisional Australia squad for the 2018 World Cup.
"An incredible achievement," Al Mubarak said of Arzani's call up. "I wish him all the best and I'm sure if he does get chosen for that [final] squad he will do great."
While the men's team missed out on a domestic crown, Melbourne City's women's team continued their dominance of the W-League, crowned champions for a third season in succession. Al Mubarak said the City Football Group would continue to support their respective teams, which also includes New York City FC of the MLS and Yokohama F Marinos in Japan, Spanish club Girona and Club Atletico Torque of Uruguay so each can each achieve success.
"We have to continue to support theses teams, to allow them to develop from a footballing sense and continue to improve," he said. "We have to allow the fan base to grow in their respective spaces. Certainly Melbourne has been a big success for us in the women's game. We have to continue to bring in the right sponsors that will ultimately help this game be more sustainable."