City Football Group (CFG), the company which owns English soccer side Manchester City and a host of other teams around the world, and Girona Football Group (GFG), an agency led by Pere Guardiola, the brother of City’s manager Pep, have purchased an equal majority stake in top-tier Spanish club Girona.
Negotiations over the deal began in 2016, and both parties have acquired a 44.3 per cent share in the newly promoted La Liga outfit, while the remaining shares will owned by a fans’ association.
The Catalan club are the sixth team to be added to CFG’s soccer portfolio, which also includes Major League Soccer’s (MLS) New York City, Australian side Melbourne City, Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos and Uruguayan outfit Atletico Torque. Four-time English champions Manchester City already had close ties with Girona, having loaned them five players earlier this summer.
Ferran Soriano, chief executive of CFG, said: “The history of the Girona FC reflects its enormous ambition. With calmness, great determination and humility, the team achieved promotion to La Liga which, without a doubt, is an incredible achievement.
“At Girona FC and at the City Football Group, we are united with the ambition to stay long and achieve many successes in La Liga, but also share the same way of doing common things and aspirations. For us it was very attractive to invest in the future of Girona. We will listen, we will learn and we will do everything possible to support the club and its fans in order to achieve the long-term sustainability that we want so much.”
Pere Guardiola, owner and chief executive of Girona Football Group, said: “This shared investment in Girona FC was an exciting opportunity for both parties, long before the club got promoted to La Liga in May. We are sure that all of us can provide the club with the support they seek, whether it is in the form of executive, financial or leadership assistance. We know and respect both Girona and its football tradition. I am convinced that our fans and other shareholders will find in this investment tangible benefits in the coming weeks, months and years.”
Delfí Geli, president of Girona FC, added: “We are pleased to be able to confirm the new investment by the City Football Group and the Girona Football Group. Both partners have shown a successful path in their respective fields and can provide us with invaluable support and knowledge to continue the hard work that so many successes have given us in recent years, as well as to establish the foundations that allow us to achieve our goal of consolidating ourselves as a club of the highest level.”
Girona finished second in the Segunda División, Spanish soccer’s second tier, in 2016/17 to secure promotion to the top flight for the first time in their 87-year history. The club’s first ever La Liga game ended in a 2-2 draw against ten-time Spanish champions Atletico Madrid, and they play their next fixture at home to Malaga on 26th August.