The owners of the top flight English Premier League club, Manchester City, are close to completing the takeover of the Indian Super League (ISL) club Mumbai City, according to reports in the British media.
On Wednesday, the Financial Times in a report about the City Football Group (CFG) – the holding company that owns half-a-dozen clubs around the world including Manchester City — getting a $500-million investment from US private equity firm had hinted at the football behemoth’s Indian interest. “People familiar with the negotiations say that CFG are in advanced talks for a takeover of Indian Super League side Mumbai City FC,” FT reported.
However, the news doesn’t come as a total surprise for those following the ISL circuit. For some time now, there has been whispers about the CFG officials having multiple talks with their Mumbai City counterparts. In fact, sources say that a few City officials, wearing Mumbai City scarves, have been spotted at ISL games at the Mumbai Football Arena this season.
Earlier, this year in March, CFG CEO Ferran Soriano had expressed interest to get into the Indian market. “We have some interest in some markets and countries where there is a genuine football passion and opportunities like India,” Soriano had said while giving an idea about his company’s future plans.
Mumbai ‘preferred’ choice
A report in British tabloid Mirror in September said, ‘The City Football Group have held talks with a number of Indian clubs as they seek to expand their global reach.’ “Mumbai City are now their preferred choice and negotiations with the club’s CEO Indranil Das Blah are almost complete,” the report added. When contacted, Blah refused to comment.
Mumbai City, who reached the semifinals of the ISL last season, are co-owned by actor Ranbir Kapoor and chartered accountant Bimal Parekh. The duo bought the franchise in 2014 for a reported fee of Rs 15 crore. However, like most ISL clubs, they have been facing an average loss of Rs 30 crore per year since then.
A deal with City would make Mumbai a part of a group that already owns New York City FC, Melbourne City, Uruguay’s Club Atletico Torque and Chinese side Sichuan Jiuniu, apart from English champions Manchester City. The CFG also holds a stake in Spanish club Girona and Japanese side Yokohama F Marinos.
The two clubs have also some connections when it comes to personnel – former Manchester City striker Nicolas Anelka was both, a player and manager, of Mumbai while Englishman Peter Reid has also been a manager at both clubs. Mumbai’s current manager is Portuguese Jorge Costa, who was the captain of the 2004 Champions League-winning Porto side that was managed by Manchester City’s present manager Jose Mourinho.
NorthEast, Mumbai share the spoils
Guwahati: A first half goal-fest saw NorthEast United FC and Mumbai City FC share the spoils in a 2-2 draw in an Indian Super League clash here on Wednesday.
Panagiotis Triadis (9th minute) opened the scoring for the home side before Mumbai City fought back with two goals from Amine Chermiti (23rd and 32nd). Asamoah Gyan (42nd) then restored parity for the Highlanders before the break as both teams settled for a point.
On Thursday, Chennaiyin FC will take on Odisha at home. John Gregory’s men pulled off a thrilling win on Monday against Hyderabad FC with the two goals coming in injury time from the team’s overseas strikers. The team had not scored in nearly 720 minutes including from last season.
Odisha is coming off a goalless draw against ATK in a game they probably were unlucky not to score.