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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Manchester City owners team up with Pep Guardiola's brother to buy major stake in Spanish club Girona

Manchester City's parent company, the City Football Group, and Pere Guardiola have purchased 44.3 per cent of Girona each, with the remainder of shares held by a fans association

Girona's Uruguayan Cristhian Stuani celebrates with teammates after scoring against Atletico Madrid at the Montilivi Stadium in Girona on August 19, 2017. Pau Barrena / AFP
Girona's Uruguayan Cristhian Stuani celebrates with teammates after scoring against Atletico Madrid at the Montilivi Stadium in Girona on August 19, 2017. Pau Barrena / AFP

Manchester City's parent company, the City Football Group, have purchased a major stake in Primera Liga side Girona, the Spanish club announced on Wednesday.

The City Football Group and the Girona Football Group, owned by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola's brother Pere Guardiola, have purchased 44.3 per cent of Girona each, with the remainder of shares held by a fans association.

"The operation will allow Girona FC to benefit from the knowledge and proven experience of the City Football Group, as well as its extensive network of infrastructures, technical teams, collection of talent, young player development and executive leadership, along with its global media, marketing and the commercial potential of the group," a Girona statement said.

The clubs have been working on the deal since 2016, with Manchester City loaning Girona five players this summer: Pablo Maffeo, Aleix Garcia, Douglas Luiz, Marlos Moreno and Larry Kayode.

Girona were promoted to La Liga for the first time in their 87-year history after finishing second in the second division last season. They drew 2-2 with Atletico Madrid on Saturday in their first match.

"Girona is a club whose work reflects its enormous ambition. With calmness, great determination and humility, the team managed to achieve promotion to the top flight, which is, without a doubt, an incredible achievement," said Ferran Soriano, chief executive of City Football Group.

"What's more, they did it playing exciting football and scoring a lot of goals."

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Pere Guardiola added: "This shared investment in Girona FC was an unquestionable, attractive opportunity for both parties, well before the club were promoted in May."

Girona become the six side the City Football Group has stakes in, joining Manchester City, Australian side Melbourne City FC, MLS franchise New York City Football Club, Japanese side Yokohama F Marinos, and Uruguayan team CA Torque.

In other news, Antoine Griezmann was handed a two-game ban by the Spanish Football Federation on Wednesday after he was sent off at the weekend for insulting the referee.

The 26-year-old France international was dismissed during Atletico Madrid's 2-2 draw at Gerona on Saturday during the opening weekend of the season.

He also received a €600 (Dh2,600) fine, while Atletico were penalised €700. Both have the right to appeal their sanctions.

Griezmann will miss league matches against Las Palmas on Saturday and Valencia on September 9.

He was shown a straight red card an hour into Saturday's match after insulting the referee for not awarding a penalty in his favour. He later apologised.

Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos has also been handed a one-match ban after he was sent off for two yellow cards in the European and Spanish champions' 3-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.

And Argentine Ever Banega was hit with a two-match suspension after the midfielder was also sent off for insulting the referee during Sevilla's 1-1 draw with Espanyol on Saturday.

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