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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

Manchester City owners keen to add club from India to portfolio 'this year', says chief executive

City Football Group's stable currently stands at seven clubs after last month's joint purchase of Chinese third-tier club Sichuan Jiuniu FC

City Football Group chief executive says the group hope to invest in an Indian football team "before the end of the year". AFP
City Football Group chief executive says the group hope to invest in an Indian football team "before the end of the year". AFP

City Football Group, the owner of Premier League champions Manchester City, are interested in bolstering their presence in Asia by investing in a team in India, chief executive Ferran Soriano said.

The group announced last month the joint purchase of Chinese third-tier team Sichuan Jiuniu FC, alongside Chinese artificial intelligence and robotics firm UBTECH and China Sports Capital, taking their number of investments in football clubs worldwide to seven.

City Football Group, which also has minority shareholdings in Major League Soccer's New York City FC, Spanish side Girona, Japan's Yokohama F Marinos and A-League side Melbourne City, hope to complete a deal for a club in India by the end of the year, Soriano said.

"We have some interest in some markets and countries where there is a genuine football passion and opportunities, like China, but also India," Soriano was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"There might be other opportunities in Asia. We've been looking at India for nearly two years now. I'd say this year we'll end up doing an investment in India."

Soriano attended the Indian Super League (ISL) match between Jamshedpur FC against Mumbai City FC in early 2018. He was invited by Tata Steel, who own the Jamshedpur club.

ISL side Mumbai City FC have been in touch with CFG since last season, a club source told Reuters.

“Preliminary talks were held with Mumbai but Manchester City are in discussions with couple of clubs in India,” the source added.

“We have no comments on Manchester City tie-up reports,” the club’s chief executive Indranil Das Blah said.

Soriano said City Football Group were looking to add at least "two of three" more clubs to their stable.

"As we see it now, there is a natural pace of growth that we will follow that takes us to more than seven teams, but not 100 teams," added Soriano.

"I cannot see 10 years ahead but the group might have two or three teams more. Is this going to change in five years and we're going to have more? Maybe, I don't know that.

"But to complete the vision that we had six years ago, I think we will have maybe two or three clubs more."

City Football Group is majority owned by Abu Dhabi United Group, a private investment firm of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

Updated: March 5, 2019 02:48 PM

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