Ferran Soriano: CFG’s objective is to unleash the power of Indian football
City Football Group (CFG) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ferran Soriano, on Thursday, underlined that his organization’s deal to acquire majority stake of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) side Mumbai City FC is much more than just a financial investment. Soriano identified the move as the first step of CFG’s long-term commitment to integrate itself in the fabric of Indian football and help it grow as an insider rather than a guest.
At the press briefing in Mumbai where the deal was announced, Soriano said, “The opportunity for football in India is evident, not a secret. Anyone can see it. You can see the passion, the talent, the players who will become very good players. They need good coaches, good training. Football has this power to empower, to help make people’s lives better. It can be done and it will be done. We will try to contribute. We are a global organization and now we have football clubs in eight countries. But we are and we want to be very local. The best clubs in the world are embedded in the societies of their cities. They are part of the fabric and contribute for the good of their cities. That’s what we want Mumbai City FC to be.”
“We are not coming here to import anything. We are not here to teach anything. The first thing we will do is learn. We need to learn about India, we need to learn about Mumbai, about Mumbai City and our objective is to unleash the power of Indian football. The power is here, you can see it. We just have to help. We have to help with facilities, coaching methodologies, technology, know how, opportunities. This is our aim for the long term. We are here to stay. City Football Group wants to see Indian football flourish. We want to be part of your league, part of the society. We want to bring whatever experience we can to unleash the power of Indian football and Mumbai City. We want to play beautiful football and we want to win,” he added.
Speaking about what led to CFG’s decision to venture into Indian football, Soriano revealed that the step was following careful consideration and research, which convinced the group of India’s bright future in football. "We have been looking forward to this for years. We have been looking at football in India and the Hero ISL for years now. We have been sending people to watch the games, I came here myself and watched many games and we are convinced of the bright future of football in India,” he stated.
Further accentuating on India’s potential to grow and thrive on the global stage, Soriano opined, “We have been looking at the work Reliance and Star have done with the league (Hero ISL) and it’s so impressive. I can say that because I serve in the boards of several leagues around the world. I have seen this done in other places and the execution, strategy and vision that we have seen in India in unbelievable. This is why I am sure, we are sure, that ten years from now, we’ll be here talking about a lot of people playing good football in India, a very good national team, a good league, good teams and Indian players who are going to be stars on the world stage. I am completely sure about that.”
“The only question is, is it going to take us ten years or can we do it faster? We will try to help, collaborate to make it faster,” he added, promising CFG’s wholehearted support and participation in the process.
CFG is the world’s leading private owner and operator of football clubs and has total or partial ownership of several clubs in major cities across the world, including Manchester City in the UK, New York City FC in the US, Melbourne FC in Australia, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay, Girona Futbol Club in Spain and Sichuan Jiuniu FC in China. The group, on Thursday, announced the acquisition of 65% stake in Mumbai City FC, making them the majority shareholder at the club.