YOKOHAMA: The owners of English Premier League champions Manchester City have expanded their global footprint by buying a minority stake in Japan’s Yokohama Marinos.
Marinos’ owner, Japanese automotive giant Nissan, has confirmed that City Football Group, which incorporates Manchester City, has become the first significant foreign investor in a J.League club.
The agreement will provide the four-time Asian champion and three-time J-League winner with access to the CFG global network that consists of City, Australian A-League club Melbourne Heart and Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise New York City Football Club.
In forming the partnership, Marinos will gain access to CFG’s training methods, medical care, sport science, team management and coaching knowhow.
Akira Kaetsu, Marinos’ president, said: “This collaboration presents a fantastic opportunity to boost the support and growth of our club, not only in the community through youth sport investment and increased attendance, but also internationally by attracting more sponsors and supporting the national team efforts.
“Over the last four years we have undergone significant reform within the club with the clear goal of becoming a leading club in Japan and we have achieved our target successfully. Now, alongside CFG we look forward to building on that foundation to take YF Marinos into the wider Asian and world arenas.”
Ferran Soriano, CFG chief executive, added: “We are proud to offer a collaborative and integrated approach to the football, marketing, media and commercial development of all the clubs in the City family. At the same time, we are proud that each of our clubs is firmly rooted and invested in its local community as well as connected and engaged with its supporter base. We are very much looking forward to starting our collaboration.”
Today’s announcement comes after Manchester City in January expanded its global empire by striking a deal to acquire a controlling stake in Melbourne Heart. City secured an 80-per-cent stake in the A-League franchise while the Premier League club’s Australian investment partners, who form part of the ownership group of National Rugby League (NRL) club the Melbourne Storm, hold the other 20 per cent.
City’s investment in the Heart followed its establishment of New York City in May 2013. Major League Baseball club New York Yankees is a co-owner of New York City, which will join MLS in 2015. YF Marinos currently sits 12th in the J-League table after finishing as runner-up in the 2013 season.
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