ISL 2018-19: Signs point to Manchester City owners buying stake in Mumbai City
If all goes well, City Football Group, the owners of Manchester City, may soon purchase a club in India.
CFG chief executive Ferran Soriano told reporters in the UK that the firm is looking at making an investment in India.
Mumbai City and FC Pune City are the two Indian clubs looking for investors. There were talks of the two clubs coming together to form a 'Maharashtra United' but that has gone into the backburner it appears.
Mumbai City and Manchester City have taken forward their talks and next season, the CFG could buy a stake in the club, partly owned by Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor.
When contacted, Mumbai City CEO Indranil Das Blah said: "We're concentrating on the semifinals right now. If there's any substantial development related to our club, we'll discuss it officially."
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About investing in India, Soriano told reporters: “With all these developments we have to be patient.
“We have some interest in some markets and countries where there is a genuine football passion and opportunities, like China, but also India. So there might be other opportunities in Asia.
“We’ve been looking at India for nearly two years now. I’d say this year we’ll end up doing an investment (sic) in India.”
Last season, Soriano was invited by Tata Steel, then owners of Jamshedpur FC, to attend the ISL game between JFC and Mumbai City FC. Soriano had first spoken about an Indian club tie-up then. Tata Steel may not tie-up with Manchester City as they have already partnered with Atletico Madrid for grassroots football development.
Soriano's latest comments comes hot in the heels of the CFG's purchase of Chinese side Sichuan Jiuniu.
Renowned FIFA agent Baljit Rihal hinted at a Manchester City-Indian club partnership last month soon after the Sichuan purchase.
So far, City own stakes in seven clubs around the world. These are Manchester City, New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F Marinos, Atletico Torque, Girona and Sichuan (Chinese third-tier).
"As we see it now, there is a natural pace of growth that we will follow that takes us to more than seven teams, but not 100 teams," Soriano further added.
"I cannot see 10 years ahead but the group might have two or three teams more. Is this going to change in five years and we're going to have more? Maybe, [but] I don't know that.
"But to complete the vision that we had six years ago, I think we will have maybe two or three clubs more."