City Football Group’s takeover of Mumbai City FC could have positive ramifications for the club and the Indian Super League (ISL) as a whole if their past track record of success is anything to go by.
Mumbai now become the eighth different club to be acquired by the group whose transformation of Manchester City from Premier League backbenchers to ‘the’ dominant side of the current decade remains their crowning achievement so far.
Four Premier League titles, as many Carling Cups and two FA Cups have followed for City since coming under the CFG umbrella with Pep Guardiola and his men even romping to the league title with a record point-haul in May this year.
However, success on the pitch has not been the only defining hallmark of their project at City which has become the envy of entire Europe. The club has been overhauled in nearly every department since their arrival with a state-of-the-art academy and training facilities following suit in a slew of changes across the board.
The massive infrastructure projects undertaken by the board in recent years has not only benefitted the club but it has also played its part in providing a boost to the local communities around Carrington. The youth development program at City was also given a massive lift with England teenager Phil Foden becoming the flagbearer of the recent success for the club across all junior age groups. Then there is also Jadon Sancho, who left City in 2017 and since then has become one of the most coveted youngsters in the world at Borussia Dortmund.
Meanwhile, the group also brought the Manchester Women’s Football Club directly under their umbrella with the side since going on to capture the FA Women’s Super League (WSL) division one title in 2016 among a host of other domestic trophies.
There is no denying that Manchester City remain the centerpiece of the CFG project but the group’s subsequent work with the acquisitions around the globe deserves a mention as well.
At Girona, CFG entered the picture in 2017 in partnership with Guardiola’s brother Pere after the Spanish minnows had earned their first-ever promotion to La Liga. Although the club has recently slipped back into the Spanish Segunda Division after a two-year stay in La Liga, the future still looks bright. CFG’s arrival has seen the financial muscle of the small club increase manifold while the group has also made considerable investment into a 20,000 square metres modern training facility towards the south of Girona.
Along with these developments, CFG have also increased the capacity of the Estadi Montilivi stadium from 9,000 odd to 14,500 at present.
New York City, the CFG-owned club that became the 20th Major League Soccer (MSL) franchise in 2015, might not have got their hands on a title so far but have still managed to qualify for the Eastern Conference play-offs on three separate occasions since coming into existence. While MLS’ rules deny any particular side from having a financial advantage, the CFG have still managed to do their part in raising the profile of New York City and the MLS as a whole.
Star signings such as Spanish World Cup-winning forward David Villa, Chelsea midfield legend Frank Lampard and Italian midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo have brought the X-factor to the club and the MLS over the years while former Arsenal and City midfielder Patrick Vieira was even roped in as head coach for a while.
Villa has also plied his trade at CFG’s A-League acquisition Melbourne City FC for a very brief period with the Spaniard’s arrival on Australian shores even going on to treble the club’s attendances. The A-League club have made rapid strides since being rebranded as Melbourne City in 2014 after the CFG takeover and won their first-ever piece of silverware in 2016 after beating Sydney FC in the 2016 FFA Cup final.
No A-League titles yet for the Melbourne club but they too, now have a solid structure in the background while their women’s side romped to the title undefeated in 2015 in their very inaugural campaign in the W-League.
It will take time for the group to create the same effect in their more recent acquisitions such as Sichuan Jiuniu in the Chinese Two League but there is no doubt that the clubs will only benefit in the long run.
With resource sharing between the CFG-owned clubs being a common theme of their dealings so far, Mumbai City can also expect to get a similar boost in the coming future and it will only increase the global spotlight on the ISL as well.