Thursday, 23 May 2024

The Rise of the City Football Group: Revolutionizing Football Ownership

Manchester City’s dominance in English football has been undeniable over the past decade. With a fifth league title in six years and a long-awaited victory in the Champions League, the team has cemented its place among the European elite. But their ambitions go far beyond the football pitch. Enter the City Football Group (CFG), a groundbreaking multi-club ownership scheme changing the landscape of football administration.

What is the City Football Group?

City Football Group Limited (CFG) is a UK-based holding company that oversees a network of professional football clubs. Owned by the Abu Dhabi United group, the majority shareholders, CFG also counts American firm Silver Lake and Chinese firms China Media Capital and CITIC Capital as part-owners. The group’s flagship club is Manchester City, but CFG has expanded exponentially since its establishment in 2013, now owning stakes in clubs across the globe.

Origins & History of the City Football Group

CFG was founded in 2013, five years after Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of Manchester City. Led by former Barcelona Economy Vice President Ferran Soriano, CFG aimed to create a global football business entity of significant stature. The project started with the acquisition of the 20th team in the Major League Soccer, New York City FC. Melbourne Heart, later rebranded as Melbourne City FC, followed suit, marking CFG’s expansion into Australian football.

CFG further extended its reach into women’s football, secured a stake in Japanese club Yokohama F Marinos, and made its presence felt in various continents. Each step reflected the ambition of the project, propelling CFG’s growth into what it is today.

Which Clubs are Part of the City Football Group?

Currently, CFG owns 12 clubs in countries worldwide, competing in top-flight leagues or working their way up the divisions. These clubs include Manchester City, New York City FC, Melbourne City FC, Montevideo City Torque, Troyes AC, Lommel S.K., Mumbai City FC, Girona FC, Sichuan Jiuniu FC, Yokohama F. Marinos, Palermo FC, and Esporte Club Bahia. Each club contributes to the multi-club ownership structure, benefiting from shared resources, player sharing, and smart recruitment strategies.

The Purpose of City Football Group

The purpose of CFG is to build a vast network of mutually beneficial sporting organizations. Manchester City, as the founding club, represents the pinnacle of this multi-club model. Young players gain experience through loan deals with feeder clubs, while seamless communication between clubs facilitates intelligent player and staff recruitment. CFG boasts extensive knowledge of half a million players worldwide, optimizing talent acquisition across its network.

Are Multi-Club Ownership Groups the Future of Football?

The rise of multi-club ownership groups in football has sparked both enthusiasm and criticism. City Football Group, with its extensive investment and business planning, has undoubtedly found success on the pitch. However, opponents argue that vast sums of money and soulless business models undermine the essence of the game. Nevertheless, CFG remains undeterred, with the Red Bull franchise serving as another prominent example of a successful multi-club establishment.

As global corporations explore football ownership, CFG’s achievements at Manchester City speak for themselves. With their trophy-laden cabinet and state-of-the-art facilities, the group’s meticulous investments have paid off. The football landscape is evolving, and CFG is at the forefront of this revolution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many clubs does City Football Group own?
A: CFG owns 12 clubs worldwide, including Manchester City, New York City FC, Melbourne City FC, and Yokohama F. Marinos.

Q: What is the purpose of the City Football Group?
A: CFG aims to create a network of sporting organizations that operate under the same banner, fostering player sharing and efficient recruitment strategies.

Q: Are multi-club ownership groups the future of football?
A: The increasing presence of such ownership groups indicates a growing trend; however, opinions on their impact vary, with concerns raised about the influence of money and the soul of the game.


The City Football Group has redefined football ownership through its multi-club model. With Manchester City as its flagship club, CFG’s global network of clubs benefits from shared resources and player sharing. While opinions on multi-club ownership groups may differ, CFG’s success on and off the pitch is a testament to its effective business model. As the football landscape continues to evolve, more corporations may follow in CFG’s footsteps, revolutionizing the sport we love.