Manchester City have become a force for success in English football in the 21st century and have become one of the most trophy-winning clubs in the world over the past decade.
Of course, much of that success can be attributed to their own acquisition by Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, which propelled the Citizens into football’s business elite – they finished first in the Deloitte Football Money League in 2022 as the club with the highest Revenue in Europe’s top divisions – and has enabled them to attract top talent for domestic and European competition.
Still, her success doesn’t stop there. In 2013 City Football Group was formed, serving as the parent company to buy majority and minority stakes in clubs around the world, furthering the influence and talent that Manchester City and the organization possess, creating a network of talented people Players available to member teams.
Pep Guardiola’s City may be the flagship, but there are many others under the City Football Group umbrella. The Sporting News takes a look at these clubs as the network continues to expand to all corners of the world.
- Founded in 2013 by City Football Group in partnership with the New York Yankees baseball team
- Created to have a second premier football team in New York City
- Awards: 2021 MLS champions
New York City was formed in 2013, with Manchester City/CFG and the New York Yankees baseball team paying a $100 million expansion fee to get the team admitted to Major League Soccer. Their formation came as part of plans to create a second football club in New York City, with the New York Red Bulls eventually becoming their main on-field competitors.
On the pitch, they were broadly successful, qualifying for the MLS Playoff Finals every season they competed in the Eastern Conference. Their fateful day was to come in December 2021, however, when former Celtic manager Ronny Deila guided them to MLS Cup glory in a dramatic penalty shootout win over Portland Timbers.
Fourth in the MLS Eastern Conference regular format, the Blues defeated Atlanta United, New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union before beating Portland 4-2 on penalties after the game ended 1-1.
Some extremely high-profile figures have championed the club in recent seasons, including David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo.
- Acquired by City Football Group in 2017
- Popular destination for Manchester City loan players
- Awards (since acquired by CFG): Supercopa de Catalunya (2019)
With a 47 per cent majority stake in Girona, City Football Group is largely responsible for most of the internal dealings that take place at the Spanish second division side.
Traditionally they were a bit of a yo-yo club in the lower echelons of football in Spain. Despite this, they played two seasons in La Liga after being automatically promoted from the second division in 2016/17.
They currently have three Manchester City prospects on loan in young strikers Pablo Moreno, Nahuel Bustos and Dario Sarmiento. They are considered an ideal destination to send young players to learn their craft due to the technical nature of Spanish football and its similarities to the way Pep Guardiola wants his players to be.
- Acquired by City Football Group in 2014 (name changed from Melbourne Heart to Melbourne City)
- Purchased to increase the City brand’s global influence and promote transcontinental success
- Awards (since CFG acquisition): A-League Men Premiership (2020/21, 2021/22), Australia Cup (2016), A-League Men Championship (2021).
Melbourne City is a prime example of the global impact City Football Group aspires to and their success in recent years has propelled them to the forefront of Australian football. They are currently the defending A-League men’s champions and hope to repeat that feat in 2022. They meet Adelaide United in the semi-finals for the right to reach the Grand Final for the third straight year.
Continental success is the message behind Melbourne City’s founding, while the trophy-laden dynasty of their English counterparts is bound to motivate the club to seek to become the dominant force in Australia for years to come.
They are managed by ex-Leeds United player Patrick Kisnorbo, who is set to cause a stir on British shores for his tactical methodology and winning mentality.
Yokohama F. Marinos
- 20 percent minority stake in Yokohama F. Marinos owned by City Football Group
- One of the most successful clubs in Japan
- Quadruple J1 League Winners (1995, 2003, 2004, 2019)
The City Football Group owns a 20 percent stake in the Japanese giant Yokohama F. Marinos, while the other 80 percent is owned by the car company Nissan.
The J1 League team is considered one of the best teams in Asia and regularly competes for the top of the Japanese top division and the AFC Champions League. In 2019 they won the J1 League for the first time in 15 years under the management of Ange Postecoglou, who has since lifted the Scottish Premiership title with Celtic.
Thorough knowledge of markets around the world has made the partnership between Manchester City and Yokohama F. Marinos a truly smart move, with the likes of Ko Itakura and Ryotaro Meshino signed from Japanese sides in recent years and still on the club’s books.
Japan is a nation that has been producing great football talent for decades. Forging connections in the region can prove very beneficial for City in the long run, especially if it can attract more supporters in a lucrative market.
- City Football Group acquired majority stake in ESTAC Troyes in 2020
- 2020/21 Ligue 2 champions, showing the immediate impact of the acquisition
- Easily held his own in Ligue 1 in 2021/22, currently 15th
- Awards (since CFG acquisition): Ligue 2 (2020/21)
City Football Group have also extended their arm into French football, acquiring a majority stake in ESTAC Troyes back in 2020 when they were in Ligue 2.
They won promotion to Ligue 1 in 2020/21, winning the league by five points. In the following season, they confidently averted the threat of relegation in the top French division.
There has been much trading between ESTAC Troyes and their parent club since the takeover, with the likes of Luka Ilic, Erik Palmer-Brown and Issa Kabore joining from the English champions last year.
- Acquired by City Football Group in 2020, becoming the ninth club to join the network
- They currently practice their profession in the Belgian second division
- Popular destination for Manchester City to loan out young players
Lommel SK plays its football in the Belgian second division and has been owned by City Football Group since 2020.
They are one of the most populous member clubs in terms of Manchester City players on loan. Daniel Arzani, Thomas Agyepong, Aminu Mohammed, Kluiverth Aguilar and Enrik Ostrc are all on the club’s books.
– Manchester City (@ManCity) November 21, 2019
- Purchased by City Football Group in 2019
- Access to players and further opportunities for football club development opened up
- Awards (since CFG takeover): Indian Super League Championship (2020/21), Indian Super League Premiership (2020/21)
Mumbai City was acquired by City Football Group in 2019, was affiliated with Manchester City and integrated into the global framework.
They have benefited enormously from this agreement and became Indian champions for the first time in 2020/21 after finishing top of the Super League in the regular season.
Once again, the mantra behind City Football Group has demonstrated that their purpose is not just to network globally, but to grow multiple successful sports companies across different continents.
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Sichuan Jiuniu FC
City Football Group, UBTECH and China Sports Capital today announced the joint purchase of Chinese club Sichuan Jiuniu FC in China League Two ⚽️
HISTORY: https://t.co/UnqcZVKrbF pic.twitter.com/GyHio1t4C3
– Manchester City (@ManCity) February 20, 2019
Sichaun Jiuniu FC is a club that plays in the second division of the professional pyramid in China. City Football Group owns a 28 percent minority stake in the team, with China Sports Capital claiming a 54 percent majority.
They are managed by former Barcelona assistant Sergio Lobera, who has close ties with Pep Guardiola.
Torque of the city of Montevideo
- Honors (since CFG acquisition): Segunda Division Winner (2017, 2019)
Montevideo City Torque is owned by City Football Group, which formed in 2017 to support Manchester City in its quest to sign talented South American players.
They achieved promotion to Uruguay’s top flight in 2019 after suffering relegation and they changed their name from Club Atletico Torque to Montevideo City Torque to reflect their ties with CFG.
The Montevideo City Torque squad is mostly made up of local players from Uruguay, although there are also players from South America.
The largest Bolivian club, Club Bolivar, has become the first sister club to join the City Football Group family.
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🔷 #ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klD5re
– Manchester City (@ManCity) January 12, 2021
Club Bolivar is not owned by City Football Group. Instead, in January 2021, the Bolivian side became the organization’s first official partner club.
According to CFG, the club, based in the capital La Paz, “is able, through its multi-club structure, to access a wide range of expertise, proprietary technology, best practices and strategic advice developed by City Football Group over the past few years were developed seven years ago”.