City Football Group

City Football Group
Holding company
Industry Sports
Sports services
Founded 2014
Founder HH Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Khaldoon Al Mubarak
Headquarters Etihad Campus, Manchester
Key people
Khaldoon Al Mubarak
Ruigang Li
Brian Marwood
Ferran Soriano
Tom Glick
Revenue Increase GB£368,703,000[1] (2015)
Increase GB£3,385,000[1] (2015)
Profit Increase GB£-32,172,000[1] (2015)
Total assets Increase GB£243,972,000[2] (2014)
Owner Abu Dhabi United Group (87%)
China Media Capital/CITIC Capital (13%)
Number of employees
709 (2015)
Subsidiaries Manchester City F.C. (100%)
New York City FC (80%)
Melbourne City FC (100%)
Yokohama F. Marinos (20%)
City Football Academy
City Football Marketing
City Football Services
City Football Japan
City Football Singapore
City Football China
Website Official website

The City Football Group (CFG) is the holding company established to oversee the creation and administration of a network of linked clubs and other footballing operations under the aegis of Manchester City.[3] The company is run as a holding company under parent company the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG)[4] along with Chinese part-owners China Media Capital and CITIC Capital.[5]

Manchester City FC

Main article: Manchester City FC

The Abu Dhabi United Group was founded in the summer of 2008, as Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan looked to take over Manchester City Football Club from the former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra.[6] The Abu Dhabi United Group was set up in order to facilitate the purchase of the Premier League club.

After its takeover, Manchester City launched into a complete overhaul of all departments, intent on rising to the top as fast as possible. On the pitch, the following seasons saw the team replaced under the management of Mark Hughes[7][8] and then a second time under Roberto Mancini as the lobbying of established UEFA Champions League clubs in the Premier League[9][10] forced the Manchester team to act quickly in order to achieve Champions League status before the newly implemented Financial Fair Play Regulations made it inviable for teams to spend outside of their earnings in an attempt to move up the table. Meanwhile, off the pitch City spent £10 million on revamping their Platt Lane academy base[11] as they formulated plans to produce a £100m training and academy facility on land opposite their stadium, studying training facilities around the world in an attempt to create the world's foremost development in its field.[12][13] This came in conjunction with the announcement in 2014 that they had received planning permission to increase their stadium capacity to over 62,000, making it the second largest club stadium in England.[14] Further investment came in the field of fan engagement, where City committed themselves to a policy of winning the global popularity contest with a mass display of social media.[15][16][17]

Under Mansour's leadership, Manchester City Football Club have currently lifted the 2011 FA Cup, 2011–12 Premier League & 2013-14 Premier League, 2012 FA Community Shield, 2013–14 Football League Cup and the 2015-16 Football League Cup.

Manchester City Women

Although Manchester City Women had existed since 1988 (previously under the name Manchester City Ladies F.C.) they existed solely as an affiliate of the club until August 2012, with few shared resources and with CFG enjoying no control over the club's management. After four years of control of the men's side in Manchester, the Abu Dhabi United Group - progenitors of City Football Group - elected to bring the women's team under their aegis also, forming a partnership with the club which would effectively make it a department of Manchester City F.C.[18]

Very soon after taking control of the club, ADUG announced their intention to support their women's department as they had supported the men, relaunching the club as Manchester City Women's Football Club[19] and successfully lobbying for the team to be added to the top tier of the FA Women's Super League when it was expanded, fuelled by promises of levels of support and funding not usual in women's football in the UK. Their support was rapidly repaid, with their radically-reshaped team producing a first major trophy in the 2014 FA WSL Cup[20] before narrowly missing out on a league triumph the following season.[21]

New York City FC

Main article: New York City FC

When Ferran Soriano was appointed Manchester City CEO in August 2012, Don Garber reached out to him about a New York City team,[22] having previously held discussions with him in his former capacity as Vice President of Barcelona.[23] In December 2012, unnamed sources told the media that Manchester City were close to being announced as the new owners of the 20th team of Major League Soccer (MLS), and the brand name "New York City Football Club" was trademarked, although the club quickly denied the report.[24] However, Garber announced in March 2013 that he was almost ready to unveil the new expansion team.[25]

New York City Football Club, LLC was registered with the New York State Department on 7 May 2013,[26] and on 21 May New York City FC was officially announced as the 20th MLS franchise.[27] Linking the club to its English parent, the new MLS side hired as its first employee former Manchester City, MLS and US national team player Claudio Reyna to serve as Director of Football,[28] while a statement of intent was made with the signing of home-grown rising star manager and MLS Cup winner Jason Kreis to serve as the team's first head coach.[29] In 2016, Manchester City's academy manager Patrick Vieira will move across to manage NYCFC.

Melbourne City FC

Main article: Melbourne City FC

The group's ownership of the club was announced on 23 January 2014, with the news that Manchester City had acquired the then-named Melbourne Heart for $12 million. After several days of talks in Melbourne and Sydney, City's senior executives completed the deal which saw them own 80% of the Australian club. City Football Group bought the other 20% that was held by a consortium of businessmen allied to Australian rugby league club Melbourne Storm.[30]

The takeover of the Australian A-League club came only days after an application to trademark the name "Melbourne City Football Club" was lodged on 16 January. Coincidentally, Melbourne Heart's minority shareholders also registered the business name "Melbourne City FC" with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and bought the domain name "".[31] In August 2015, City Football Group bought out the sports consortium to acquire 100% ownership of the club.[32]

Since August 2015, City Football Group has held 100% ownership of Australian-based sister club Melbourne City Football Club.[32]

Melbourne City NPL

Main article: Melbourne City FC NPL

As part of the expansion of the National Premier Leagues Victoria 1 (now known as NPL Victoria 2), Melbourne City had an application accepted to field a team based around their now-defunct Youth side in the competition along with five additional new entrants. On 6 December 2014 they announced the creation of their NPL team, which began competition in the 2015 season.[33]

Melbourne City Women

Following the success of their investment in Manchester City's women's team, CFG announced their continued support of women's football with the creation of a women's department in Melbourne in 2015 which was accepted as an expansion team in the W-League.[34]

Facing a league bereft of meaningful investment, CFG's support of their team produced a clean sweep of the board, with their women's team going unbeaten as they won both the league and the play-off series at the first time of asking in the 2015–16 W-League,[35] setting a series of club and player records as they went.[36]

Yokohama F. Marinos

Main article: Yokohama F. Marinos

On 20 May 2014, it was announced that City Football Group had invested in a minority share of Yokohama F. Marinos, creating a partnership with both the football club and car manufacturer Nissan.[37] City Football Group is estimated to hold 20 percent of Yokohama F. Marinos' existing shares, but through the establishment of a Japan-based subsidiary may seek to eventually own a controlling stake in the club.[38]

Honours achieved

The following trophies have been won by City Football Group teams while under the ownership and control of the group:

Team Seasons under CFG Domestic Continental Total
League Playoffs series National Cup League Cup Super Cup Champions League Secondary Cup Super Cup
England Manchester City1 8 2 n/a 1 2 1 0 0 0 6
England Manchester City Women 3 1 n/a 0 2 n/a 0 n/a n/a 3
Australia Melbourne City 4 0 0 1 n/a n/a 0 n/a n/a 1
Australia Melbourne City NPL 2 0 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 0
Australia Melbourne City Women 2 1 1 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 2
United States New York City FC 2 0 0 0 n/a n/a 0 n/a n/a 0
Japan Yokohama F. Marinos 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 n/a n/a 0

1 Includes titles won while under control of City Football Group personnel, but before the creation of the company itself

Affiliated clubs

Training/Scouting partners

In January 2013, Aarhus invited Academy head and former Aarhus player Scott Sellars over to Denmark to tour their facilities, whereupon an agreement was signed between the two clubs. Aarhus impressed with their youth facilities and planned co-operation on young players. In exchange, City agreed to periodically send youth signings from the Right to Dream Academy on loan to Aarhus.
Espanyol and CFG have an agreement that involves loaning out youth players from Man City to Espanyol, and Espanyol getting first notice on players who are surplus to requirements at City.
C.F.G. have a partnership with the Ghanaian FA whereby each season their respective technical staff pool knowledge related to training players.
An agreement was signed on 9 May 2012 for Gil Vicente to share their scouting network with Manchester City, granting CFG more specialised access to the Portuguese market, primarily for youth talent, while also allowing Gil Vicente to benefit from the group's more global reach.
Limerick signed a scouting network partnership agreement with City mainly owing to their desire to access the pool of talent coming from the Right to Dream Academy, whom City have a long-term understanding with. Consequently, Limerick will bring in a couple of young African players from the Academy every season.
Under the terms of their agreement, Sporting Portugal signed with Manchester City a deal that they had previously had with Manchester United, to grant City first option on their players, specifically with a view to their youth talent.
As a condition for their continuing existence in Major League Soccer, New York City FC along with all MLS clubs are expected to either affiliate with or own and operate a club competing in the United Soccer League. Rather than opting to field their own B-team, NYCFC signed a one-year affiliation with Wilmington Hammerheads of North Carolina in 2015 which was then renewed the following year. Their association involves close cooperation on training and player scouting, as well as a league-mandated commitment for at least four players to be loaned to the USL side.

Overseas academies

City Football Group have a partnership with the Right to Dream Academy which allows them to cherry-pick the best talent from the academy once players graduate. Stories have circulated that City bought the academy and own it outright, though if this is true it has never been publicised.

Work permit clubs

City have a series of agreements with clubs to whom they can loan youth players from non-EU countries who otherwise would need to serve five years of residence in the UK to earn an EU passport granting them the ability to play in England without needing a work permit. Primarily the countries of Benelux and Scandinavia are viewed as the shortest way of achieving this.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Directors' Report and Financial Statements" (PDF).
  2. "City Football Group Limited - companycheck summary". Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  3. "Jason Kreis: New York City FC "quite certain" to sign three Designated Players". 11 January 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  4. "MANCHESTER CITY ANNUAL REPORT 2012-13" (PDF). 29 January 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  5. "CFG Statement: 1 December 2015". 1 December 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  6. "Manchester City's new owners put national pride before profit". The Guardian. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  7. "Mark Hughes defends Manchester City's summer spending spree". Daily Telegraph. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  8. "Big-spending Manchester City boss Mark Hughes is always on the lookout". Daily Mail. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  9. "Manchester United at forefront of financial fair play bid - Whelan". BBC Sport. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  10. "They can't beat City on the pitch so Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool are ganging up on them and squealing to UEFA... THAT'S RICH!". Daily Mail. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  11. "Manchester City splash the cash on Platt Lane academy". Manchester Evening News. 7 August 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  12. "Manchester City's £100m plan to be the Barcelona of the Premier League". The Guardian. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  13. "Manchester City unveil 80-acre Etihad Academy plan". BBC Sport. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  14. "Manchester City's Etihad Stadium expansion approved". 13 February 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  15. "Manchester City: The most social media-savvy club in the world". 2 September 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  16. "Interview: The World's Richest Soccer Club Is Like A Free Content 'Startup'". 31 August 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  17. "Manchester City sets the goal of being the world's best-supported soccer club". 1 September 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  18. "City announce formal partnership with MCFC Ladies". 28 August 2012. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  19. "Manchester City Women's Football Club re-launched". 24 February 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  20. "Continental Cup: Manchester City beat Arsenal to win first trophy". 16 October 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  21. "WSL 1: Manchester City Women 2-1 Notts County Ladies". 4 October 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  22. Bennett, Roger (28 May 2013). "Ambitious Garber ready for next challenge". Relegation Zone. ESPN FC.
  23. Lalas, Greg (February 11, 2009). "Garber: Barca/Miami Team Would Start in 2010".
  24. "Manchester City Said Close to Being Awarded MLS Queens Team". Bloomberg. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  25. "MLS Commissioner Don Garber talks NYC2 progress, Florida expansion, Champions League schedule tweak". 17 March 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  26. "Entity Information". NYS Division of Corporations, State Records and UCC. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  27. "Major League Soccer announces New York expansion team: New York City Football Club". 21 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  28. "New York City FC name Claudio Reyna director of football operations". May 22, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  29. "Jason Kreis named as Head Coach". December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  31. "Manchester City buy A-League's Melbourne Heart". Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  32. 1 2 John Stensholt (2 August 2015). "Manchester City buy out wealthy Melbourne City investors". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  33. "Fixture News: National Premier Leagues 1". 6 December 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  34. "Melbourne City FC set to field W-League team in 2015". 13 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  35. "W-League grand final: Melbourne City beat Sydney FC". ABC News. 31 January 2016.
  36. "Melbourne City roll on as records tumble". 22 December 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  37. "Manchester City reveals plan to invest in Yokohama F. Marinos". The Japan Times. AFP-JiJI. May 20, 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  38. Kano, Shintaro (December 31, 2014). "Soccer: Man City group to open Japan front, look to increase stake in Marinos". Kyodo News. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  39. "AGF indgår samarbejde med Manchester City" [AGF entered into a partnership with Manchester City] (in Danish). 24 January 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  40. Atchinson, Jack (30 March 2011). "Espanyol And Manchester City To Begin Player And Financial Partnership". Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  41. "Manchester City set to send youngsters to La Liga side Espanyol". talkSPORT. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  42. "Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah to pay a learning visit to Manchester City". 6 March 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  43. "Gil Vicente oficializa parceria com o Manchester City" [Gil Vicente formalises partnership with Manchester City] (in Portuguese). 9 May 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  44. 1 2 3 "NAC Breda partnership with CFG". 14 April 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  46. "New York City FC Announces Long Island Rough Riders as PDL Affiliate". 21 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  47. "Swedish thumbs up as Djurgarden party at Manchester City today". 111111. Retrieved 11 January 2013. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  48. "Man City recommend Ghana U20 star to sign for Hacken". 6 June 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  49. 1 2 3 "SIF Håper på utvidet samarbeid med City" [SIF hoping for greater cooperation with City] (in Norwegian). 22 November 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
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