City Football Group (CFG), the Abu Dhabi company that has investments in Manchester City and 10 other football clubs, has bought a majority stake in Italian second-tier club Palermo, the Sicilian club announced on Monday.
The move was confirmed at a press conference in Palermo with City CEO Ferran Soriano and former owner Dario Meri, who retains a 20% stake in the club and will remain as president.
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“Our goal in the next few years will be to enter Serie A,” Soriano said. “He is ambitious but this club needs the Serie A and it will not be easy because we will need hard work. Palermo is joining the family today.
“Palermo is a great historical club with a strong and proud identity. We will work with Dario Meri to promote his exceptional work, which aims – over the next few years – at the sustainable growth of Palermo. We are pleased that the city and the Football Group have expanded their presence in Italy.”
CFG is one of the most powerful names in football and the majority owner of City, New York City and Melbourne City. It is a holding company owned by Abu Dhabi United Group by 78% and minority stakes are owned by the American company Silver Lake and the two Chinese companies China Media Capital and Citic Capital.
The group also invested money in Yokohama F Marinos in Japan, Montevideo Torque in Uruguay, Girona in Spain, Sichuan Junio in China, Mumbai in India, Lommel SK in Belgium and Troyes in France.
Serie A team Palermo has been added to that list. The Sicilian went bankrupt in 2019 and started again as a Phoenix club in Serie A, the fourth tier of Italian football.
But they quickly rose through the ranks, earning a promotion to Serie B earlier this month with a win in the final against Padova.