Explained: the multi-club model in the Premier League, Europe and beyond

Why have just one football club when you can have many?

Team owners across the country Premier LeagueEnglish Football League (EFL), have been asking themselves this question for many years in continental Europe and beyond – and now there has been a seismic shift in strategy.

Todd Boehly, ChelseaThe new American co-owner of The prospect of a money-spinning Premier League ‘All-Star’ game, Have already highlighted the importance of building a sports portfolio.

Boehly already had stakes in basketball’s Los Angeles Lakers and major league baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, so is no stranger to owning multiple teams.

However this method is not new. If the new owners of Chelsea expand their portfolio, the West London team will become the 10th of the current 20 Premier League teams to be part of the multi-club model.


armory, brentford, Brighton, diamond palace, Leicester, Manchester City, Nottingham Forest, southampton And West Ham Already, between them, there are links with 25 clubs in the wider Europe and further regions.

one division down in the championship, cardiff, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield United, Sunderland, swansea And watford are also associated with other clubs, while league one‘s Barnsley is part of NewCity Capital Group’s stable of seven teams.,

Even in the third stage, ipswichThe company also operates Phoenix Rising in the United States Second Division, while Salford, playing in League Two, is co-owned by majority shareholder Peter Lim of Valencia, Spain. league,

EFL Multi-Club Model

club owner year of first investment other clubs

cardiff city

Vincent Tan

2010

FK Sarajevo, KV Kortrijko

Queens Park Rangers

Tony Fernandes

2011

Petaling Jaya Rangers

Sheffield United

United World Group (Prince Abdullah)

2013

Beershot FC, Al Hilal (UAE), LB Chateauroux, Kerala United

Sunderland

Kirill Louis-Dreyfus

2021

Marseille

swansea city

Jason Levine and Stephen Kaplan

2012

DC United

watford

gino pozzo

2012

Udinese

barnsley

NewCity Capital (Dog Lee)

2017

FC Thun, KV Ostende, Nancy, Esbjerg FB, Den Bosch, Kaiserslautern

ipswich town

Brett Johnson, Burke Bakke and Mark Detmer

2021

Phoenix Rising

salford city

peter limo

2014

Valencia

Across Europe, other leagues are already wise to the move.

United 20 clubs of Italy a league, Ligue 1 in France and La Liga are part of a multi-club model, with the former leading, complemented by its own American investments. the american owner of AC MilanBologna, Genoa and Fiorentina all have stakes in other clubs as well.

In Italy, the ability of owners to operate multiple clubs in divisions that have been outlawed in other countries can still provide obstacles.

Lazio boss Claudio Lotto was forced to sell Salernitana in January, when the latter club reached Serie A. Risking expulsion from top flight with newly promoted side Otherwise. A similar prospect would see his Napoli counterpart Aurelio De Laurentiis play in Serie B for 2022–23 if Bari would repeat last season’s success in the third tier.


Napoli and Bari owner Aurelio De Laurentiis (Photo: Marco Cantile/LightRocket via Getty Images)

even german BundesligaWell-known resistor for outdoor investment and home of the 50+1 ownership model, There are three clubs with links to others – Augsburg, Kaiserslautern and RB Leipzig,

In Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues, 32.7 percent of sides are part of the multi-club model, linked to a total network of 91 other teams.

In the UK, the spark that ignited this business model was the 2016 vote to leave the European Union. And multi-club ownership is set to grow rather than take back.

Clubs see strategy as a tool that could help survive post-Brexit Governing Body Approval (GBE) Rules, While also a useful way of developing academy players who otherwise would not be able to play first-team football.

Brexit has made it difficult for players to obtain work permits, and in the GBE system leagues across Europe are classified by quality and position. La Liga, for example, is in band one and as a result has more GBE qualifying points, while the Danish Superliga is in band five and deserves fewer points.

There is a reason why UK-based clubs are looking for teams in Belgium, Portugal, Turkey and the Netherlands – and it has to do with their position in the GBE system.

City Football Group (CFG)The umbrella organization owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, which has a Manchester City figurehead, has 11 clubs in countries including India, Australia, the United States and Japan.

After buying Manchester City in 2008, New York City FC Major League Soccer It became its second acquisition in 2013 when CFG bought an 80 percent stake. Melbourne City (100 percent stake) and Yokohama F Marino (20 percent stake) followed the following year.


Thiago Andrade of New York City, the current MLS champion (Photo: Andrew Catsamps / ISI Photo / Getty Images).

Since 2019, CFG has bought shares in Mumbai City (65%), Sichuan Jiuniu (29.7%), Lomel (99%), Troyes (100%) and, most recently, Palermo (80%).

CFG is by far the biggest — and most successful in terms of silverware if not necessarily revenue — when it comes to multi-club ownership and the model is paying dividends close to home as well.

With the summer transfer window just over, CFG waited until Southampton approved the departure of Oriol Romu in Girona, in which it holds a 47 per cent stake, before being sent to Manchester City. samuel adozzi And Juan Larios for St. Mary’s. Southampton also loaned the goalkeeper matuz lis For CFG Club Troyes.

Brentford owner Matthew Benham has noted the benefits of having more than one club in your portfolio and in 2014 acquired a 75 percent majority stake in Danish side Midtjylland; But perhaps Tony Fernandes, co-owner of West London’s neighboring Queens Park Rangers, was ahead of the curve.

Fernandes founded Petaling Jaya Rangers in Selangor, Malaysia in 2011, the same year he bought QPR. The two clubs announced a partnership in 2016, with QPR creating an academy in Malaysia and mentoring players and coaches in training.

League One’s Fleetwood Town did something similar last year. Their owner, Andy Pillay, created new clubs in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa hoping to develop football players. The team based in the United Arab Emirates is called Fleetwood United Football Club, which goes by the Western Cape Fleetwood Football Club in South Africa.

“We are experts in building football clubs and developing players and we are really excited to do so in the UAE and South Africa,” Pillay said. “We are a forward-thinking club. It is one thing that Manchester City have a network of clubs, but who would have thought that little old Fleetwood would go down the same path?”

Southampton are the most recent English team to enter the multi-club world, with new owners Sport Republic – their majority shareholder after the acquisition last January – buying a 70 percent stake in Turkish side Goztepe in August. Sport Republic, a group co-owned by Rasmus Ankerson, a former Brentford football operations director and Benham employee, expects several more acquisitions to follow.

Several American Premier League investors had stakes in sports franchises even before they tried their hand at English football.

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has a portfolio that includes MLS team Colorado Rapids, NFL Champions Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks nba and rule NHL Ice-hockey conquered the Colorado Avalanche.


Andrew Whitworth and Von Miller of the Los Angeles Rams with the Super Bowl trophy in February (Photo: Frederick J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images)

Kroenke’s impressive stable is followed by Dave Blitzer, an American who owns an 18 percent stake in the palace. Blitzer Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), New Jersey Devils (NHL) and Cleveland Guardians (mlb) as the teams included in their portfolio.

as well as the owner Manchester UnitedThe Glazer family is in charge of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, completing a controversial leveraged acquisition in 2005. liverpoolThe Fenway Sports Group, headed by John W. Henry, also has the Boston Red Sox (MLB) and Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) under its umbrella of clubs.

BournemouthThose who won promotion to the Premier League last season are the latest club to be sought by an American businessman. Bill Foley in exclusive chat with Maxim Damin, the club’s Russian owner, on a proposed takeover. Foley already has game experience as the owner of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

As the multi-club model continues to be replicated throughout football, this will become more difficult as there will be fewer teams left in the market.

But despite this rapid growth, the strategy is showing no signs of slowing down.

Whether it is minority or majority shareholding is almost irrelevant.

Having a stake in another team opens up avenues not available to single-club owners.

(Top Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

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