December 3, 2021

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Manchester City owners add Belgian club Lommel SK to roster

Manchester City’s billionaire owners have added Belgian second division side, Lommel SK, to their global network of clubs in a bid to strengthen their hopes of unearthing the next Vincent Kompany or Kevin De Bruyne.

Lommel become the ninth club in the City Football Group (CFG) stable after Premier League champions Manchester City, New York City in the US, Australia’s Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Uruguayan outfit Montevideo City Torque, Girona in Spain, Chinese club Sichuan Jiuniu and Mumbai City of India.

The Belgian club, who play their home games at the 8,000 capacity Soeverein Stadium in the province of Limburg, have a strong record on youth development.

Ferran Soriano, chief executive of CFG, said the move was the latest example of the group’s commitment to developing talent internationally. De Bruyne and Kompany are two examples of leading Belgian stars to play for City and Soriano hopes the Lommel tie-in will strengthen their foothold in the country.

“We are excited to welcome Lommel SK to City Football Group and to work together with the fans and the city to develop the Club,” Soriano said.

“Belgium is one of Europe’s best football countries as demonstrated by the success of the national team and the development of world-class players, some of whom we know very well, like Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany.

“This investment is part of our long-term strategy to be present in key football countries, play beautiful football and develop talent. We were attracted to Lommel’s culture, training facilities and commitment to youth development and we look forward to learning from their approach and helping the club to evolve in the months and years ahead.”

Lommel’s board will now include Paul Kerkhofs, president of the Lommel Not for Profit Foundation, from which CFG acquired a majority stake in the club.

“We are delighted that City Football Group has chosen to acquire Lommel and ensure the future of our Club,” Kerkhofs said. “We are extremely impressed with their philosophy, track record and approach and look forward to working together to take the club forward.”

Bob Nijs, the mayor of Lommel, added: “Lommel SK is an incredibly important part of our community. In City Football Group we have an ambitious, stable and reliable partner, which is committed to developing young players and will help the club to grow and succeed in the future. It is excellent news for the club and for the city”.

CFG now has 13 offices around the world and remains majority owned by the Abu Dhabi royal Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan. Chinese media and entertainment conglomerate, CMC, have a 12 cent stake in the business with a further 10 per cent owned by private equity giant, Silver Lake, who paid £389 million for their shareholding last year.

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