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Manchester City Owners Set to Buy Sichuan-Based Third Division Club

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Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family and the principal backer behind the current English Premier League champions Manchester City, is reportedly set to invest in a Chinese club later this week. The Sheik’s City Football Group, which features a 13% stake held by China Media Capital and CITIC Capital, will complete the purchase in the coming days of Sichuan Jiuniu, who ply their trade in the third tier of Chinese football.

The deal will add a Chinese arm to a CFG portfolio that includes clubs in Japan, Spain, and Uruguay, in addition to the A-League’s Melbourne City FC and Major League Soccer side New York City FC.

According to The Guardian,

“CFG set up an office in Shanghai in March 2016 and the new partnership is the latest step in its growing involvement in China. A Shenzhen office opened last year with the intention of overseeing the development of local players, and it has also helped fund the opening of a youth academy in Beijing.”

Jiuniu, literally meaning “Nine Bulls”, were founded in 2006 after Chinese Super League club Sichuan Guancheng disbanded. They finished 24th in Chinese League Two last season, some 45 points behind fellow Sichuanese side Annapurna United, who ended 2018 as division champions. Some work to be done then.

The new Chinese football season will kick off on March 1.

Cover photo: Sichuan Jiuniu salute the fans at the end of last season (source: Club’s Weibo)

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