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There are two organisations buying multiple clubs. Will there be more?

by Tony Attwood

We have got used to thinking about the resourceless acquisition of football clubs by the City Football Group which includes Manchester City, New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos, Montevideo City Torque, Girona, Sichuan Jiuniu (China), Mumbai City FC and Lommel SK (Belgium).

But it is always worth looking beyond the narrow focus of the English media with its totally Anglocentric vision of the world to see what else is happening.  Is there perchance anyone else also gathering up football clubs under its wing into another grouping, with multiple clubs owned by the same firm.

Well yes there is, and it seems the habit is growing as OL Groupe, the company which owns Olympique Lyonnais, playing of course in the French League, have bought Reign FC of the National Women’s Soccer League.  The name is now OL Reign – and it might well be noted that Olympique Lyonnais has the most successful women’s football club in Europe right now.

And even more established is Red Bull which seems to have 15 sports teams including most notably Red Bull Salzburg (Austria), New York Red Bulls, FC Liefering (Austria), Red Bull Brazil, SSV Markranstadt, and RB Leipzig (Germany).

RB Leipzig was founded in 2009 when Red Bull purchased the playing rights of the fifth division club  SSV Markranstädt.  Their aim was to get into the first division within eight years.  In fact they got into the Champions League within eight years.

Both of these club buying groups are known for a simple sort of deal – a total takeover and do whatever it takes to get to the top.  These sponsors are not interested in being underdogs.  The old is thrown out and a drive towards the new is everything.

It is a view that can lead to a certain level of extremism.  Manchester City are currently taking on the whole of Uefa and its approach to maintaining law and order, while it is reported that Red Bull Salzburg have been known to eject fans from their stadium for wearing the colours of the team that existed before the takeover.

Indeed although Manchester City fans seemed to take to the rule of Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan in his homeland, a group of RB Leipzig supporters set up their own club to continue the traditions of that team: SV Austria Salzburg.  To fight this backlash, Red Bull in New York pulled in Pele as a club ambassador, and as we may remember Thierry Henry as a signing.

5 comments to There are two organisations buying multiple clubs. Will there be more?

  • Peter Gardner

    Looks like another approach is needed by Arsenal/Man United/Liverpool to protect the status quo. When City’s case goes before a proper court, not the kangaroo court set up by UEFA, where the sentence was leaked before the case had actually been officially heard, it will be thrown out. A case that was built around hacked emails, taken out of context, which would not normally be admissible in a proper court.

    “Manchester City are currently taking on the whole of Uefa and its approach to maintaining law and order” Would that be the law that was specifically drafted to exclude the likes of Man City from Europe’s top competition? A set of rules that were drafted under the guise of protecting clubs from overspending, like Leeds and Portsmouth, and then modified when it was realised that it still wouldn’t halt City’s march to the top. Newcastle fans are waiting with bated breath for the outcome of their imminent takeover by a Saudi led consortium. Little do they realise that EUFA will do everything in their power to prevent another rich Premier League club bursting onto the scene and putting the future of Arsenal and Man United at risk. Indeed, UEFA are already implementing phase two of their Man City exclusion plans by looking at recent results to decide who is invited to take part in the Champion’s League. If City’s appeal is rejected, it means that, effectively, they will have to win the Premier League to get into the Champion’s League again. The top four will not work.

    So, all in all, I hope the spiteful clubs who are responsible for this whole FFP disgrace continue to fall and find themselves battling to clamber out of League One. It’s the least they deserve.

  • DooDah

    An excellent Post, Tony.

  • omgarsenal

    Peter Gardner………your rant is a wonderfully crafted ¨conspiracy¨ theory but it lacks a few salient and essential elements before anyone can take you seriously:

    1) The court UEFA normally would use if there were any of their rulings being contested would be the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Which kangaroo court are you referring to?

    2) What proof do you have that the FFP was ¨specifically¨drafted to handicap MC, when it is legally applicable to every EPL club?

    3) Has EUFA begun any process that you can factually show us, apart from the FFP where there is incontrovertible and hard evidence that UEFA is now planning to ¨prevent¨ Newcastle from being bought by the Saudis?

    4) Which ¨spiteful¨ clubs are conniving and undertaking machiavellian manouveurs to FFP, in collaboration with their wicked EUFA minions?

    5) What have these mythical ¨spiteful¨ clubs actually and concretely done to promote the FFP specifically to stop poor City from rising to the top?

    Your post, until backed up with verifiable facts, is simply BS.

  • Peter Gardner

    1) The ‘court’ I am referring to is UEFA’s Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body, the Chairman of which, Jose da Cuhna Rodrigues leaked the findings of the investigation and the punishment to be levied, before the inquiry had taken place. MCFC have appealed to the CAS but the case is delayed due to Covid-19.

    2) I never said that FFP was specifically drafted to handicap MCFC, I said it was to exclude the likes of Man City from Europe’s top competition. FFP was first concocted under the guise of preventing clubs getting into dire financial difficulties as had Leeds and Portsmouth. The initial draft, however, meant that clubs were not able to carry substantial debt. This would have handicapped Man Utd, who carry circa half a billion pounds of debt. As a consequence, FFP had to be modified to allow debt such as Man Utd’s, where the club was bought with bank loans and the debt loaded onto the club, but prohibit legitimate investment from an owner’s own pocket, as had happened with Blackburn Rovers and Man City. I have excluded Chelsea from this as the money provided by Roman Abramovich was in the form of loans.

    3) I did not suggest that UEFA were planning to prevent NUFC from being bought by the Saudis, I indicated that, should the takeover succeed, the new owners will not have the freedom to invest to the extent that success will be guaranteed. The current FFP rules will prohibit that. As for future rules, you may wish to read this: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/champions-league-manchester-united-city-18163946

    4) This article pretty much explains the reasoning but falls short of naming individuals: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/man-city-ffp-uefa-cartel-17803498 The article that had a more forensic study of the history of FFP is lost to me. I saved it, but I know not where.

    5) The ‘spiteful’ clubs are not mythical, they are actual. You need look no further than the Brexit debacle to see that there will be winners and losers. The losers are those who were lied to and generally misled, plus the rest of us. The winners are those who did the lying and the misleading because they stand to make millions, if not billions of pounds out of the whole mess. Now translate that to European football; the losers are the established ‘elite’ who, with the help of UEFA, are untouchable when it comes to money. How else is it that a club like Real Madrid can spend money like water to buy Galacticos when clubs two or three places down the table have to sell their best players to survive? Maybe it’s because Real and Barcelona have the Spanish TV rights carved up between them, reputedly in the order or 80% for them and 20% between the rest. And UEFA do nothing. The Premier League clubs under threat from the rise of moneyed clubs are Arsenal and Man Utd, up until the last few seasons that would also include Liverpool. All three were nailed on for UCL qualification, year after year, and all three have fallen short in recent times. Now consider in whose best interest it is to suppress City, certainly not Norwich or Watford or Southampton.

  • Nitram

    City fans and their very strange and twisted take on reality.

    After the war, up until the early 70’s Man City were a top Club winning 6 major trophies:

    55/56 FA Cup
    67/68 Champions
    68/69 FA Cup + Super Cup
    69/70 Cup Winners Cup + League Cup

    During that period Arsenal on the other hand only won 4 Trophies, 3 of which were prior to the 60’s. Our first major trophy for 17 years was the Fairs City’s Cup in 1970.

    Man Utd were perennial champions winning it 5 times between season 51/52 and 66/67.

    They also won an FA Cup and most famously a European Cup.

    So yes at the start of the 70’s, as Recent European Champions, Manchester United were bigger than City, but they earned that status on the pitch. Even so, they had no God given rights, as they found out when they got relegated in the early 70’s.

    As for Arsenal, with just the 1 trophy after 17 years, they were hardly pulling up trees.

    As such Man City sat comfortably at the top table and were arguably a bigger club than both Arsenal and Man Utd in the early 70’s.

    So why and were did it all go so wrong for City, and so right for Arsenal and Man Utd?

    Well lets say from the outset it had nothing to do with a financial gift from any benefactor, a la Man City.

    Anything Arsenal and United achieved was achieved on the football pitch. Arsenal got where they did, and won what they did, through decent/good/brilliant owners and board members, hiring decent/good/brilliant managers, and more importantly knowing when they had a good’n and sticking with him.

    Man utd similarly, famously sticking with Fergie just long enough to see him deliver, and boy did he deliver.

    Compare that to Man City’s shambolic take on running a football club.

    This is City’s list of managers since the early 70’s:

    Sven G Eriksson 06 Jul, 2007 02 Jun, 2008
    Stuart Pearce 11 Mar, 2005 14 May, 2007
    Kevin Keegan 24 May, 2001 11 Mar, 2005
    Joe Royle 18 Feb, 1998 21 May, 2001
    Frank Clark 29 Dec, 1996 17 Feb, 1998
    Phil Neal 08 Nov, 1996 29 Dec, 1996
    Steve Coppell 06 Oct, 1996 08 Nov, 1996
    Alan Ball 02 Jul, 1995 27 Aug, 1996
    Brian Horton 28 Aug, 1993 16 May, 1995
    Tony Book 26 Aug, 1993 28 Aug, 1993
    Peter Reid 15 Nov, 1990 26 Aug, 1993
    Howard Kendall 06 Dec, 1989 05 Nov, 1990
    Mel Machin 01 May, 1987 30 Nov, 1989
    Jimmy Frizzell 01 Oct, 1986 01 May, 1987
    Billy McNeill 30 Jun, 1983 22 Sep, 1986
    John Benson 03 Feb, 1983 07 Jun, 1983
    John Bond 01 Oct, 1980 03 Feb, 1983
    Malcolm Allison 16 Jul, 1979 01 Oct, 1980
    Tony Book 12 Apr, 1974 01 Jan, 1979
    Ron Saunders 22 Nov, 1973 12 Apr, 1974
    Johnny Hart 01 May, 1973 16 Nov, 1973
    Malcolm Allison 12 Jun, 1972 30 Mar, 1973
    Joe Mercer 01 Jul, 1965 12 Jun, 1971

    That’s a ridiculous 23 managers in 17 years.

    It’s hardly Arsenal or Man Utds fault that since the early 70’s Man City have been run like a back street market stall. Given that pathetic way of running a football club is it any surprise that over that period, up until the Shekh’s oil money turned up, Man City won one single solitary League Cup. Given where they were that is some fall from grace.

    So given such ineptitude, I mean, honestly, what on earth gives you this sense of entitlement ?

    City have been a terribly ran Club for years and no amount of name calling will change that.

    I know Arsenal earned their place at the top table and I’m sure United fans feel the same. City simply bought their place.

    Not only did they buy it, they bought it with filthy rotten money, and trying to justify it by banging on about the fact they’ve built a new block of flats and a couple of supermarkets or whatever they’ve done, simply doesn’t cut it.

    (Just one of dozens of articles)

    https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/manchester-city-owners-amnesty-international-der-spiegel-accused-uefa-ffp-sponsors-a8627741.html

    Still, if you’re happy with all that that’s up to you, but you know as well as I do that ANY club and I mean ANY club would of won what City have won, given the astronomical amount of money spent on transfers alone. £1,000,000,000 Nett and counting. I mean where is the achievement in that? In fact, having failed dismally in the pursuit of the one trophy you really want I think you’ve actually fallen short, given that spend.

    Still, no worries just spend another Billion, after all it’s no more than you deserve is it.