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

Why only have one club when you can own several?

Team owners around Premier LeagueEnglish Football League (EFL), Continental Europe and beyond have been asking themselves this question for several years – and there has now been a seismic shift in strategy.

Todd Pohley, ChelseaThe new US partner who made a fuss last week when discussing it The possibility of an “All-Star” match in the English Premier League, He has already highlighted the importance of creating a sports portfolio.

Boehly already had stakes on the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and the Los Angeles Dodgers in Major League Baseball, so he’s no stranger to having multiple teams.

This approach, however, is not new. If Chelsea’s new owners expand their portfolio, the West London side will become the 10th out of the current 20 Premier League teams to be part of a multi-club model.

ArsenalAnd the BrentfordAnd the BrightonAnd the Crystal PalaceAnd the ListerAnd the ManchesterAnd the Nottingham ForestAnd the Southampton And the West Ham They already have, among themselves, links with 25 clubs across Europe and beyond.

One division in the tournament, CardiffAnd the Queen Garden KeepersAnd the Sheffield UnitedAnd the SunderlandAnd the Swansea And the Watford Linked to other clubs as well, while Premier League‘s Barnsley is part of the NewCity Capital Group of seven teams.

Also at the third level, IpswichPhoenix Rising is also run property in the US second tier, while Salford, who plays in the second league, is co-owned by Peter Lim, the majority shareholder of Valencia in Spain. La Liga.

Multi-club EFL Forms

club owner first investment year Other clubs

Cardiff City

Vincent Tan


FK Sarajevo, KV Kortrijk

Queen Garden Keepers

Tony Fernandez


Petaling Jaya Rangers

Sheffield United

United World Group (Prince Abdullah)


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


Kirill Louis-Dreyfus



Swansea City

Jason Levian and Stephen Kaplan


DC United


Gino Pozzo




New City Capital (Xin Li)


FC Thun, KV Oostende, Nancy, Esbjerg fB, Den Bosch, Kaiserslautern

Ipswich Town

Brett Johnson, Burke Buckeye and Marc Dettmer


phoenix height

Salford City

Peter Lim



Across Europe, other leagues are already wise to this trick.

Total 20 clubs from Italy Italian Serie AAnd Ligue 1 in France and La Liga are part of a multi-club model, with the former, full of its own American investments, leading the way. US owners AC MilanBologna, Genoa and Fiorentina all have stakes in other clubs as well.

In Italy, the ability of owners to operate multiple clubs across divisions, which are banned in other countries, still pose obstacles.

Lazio owner Claudio Lotito was forced to sell Salernitana in January after the latter reached Serie A, With the newly promoted side to risk first-class expulsion Unlike that. A similar possibility would face his Napoli counterpart Aurelio De Laurentiis if Bari, who plays in Serie B for 2022-2023, repeats last season’s success in the third tier.

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

even German Bundesligafamous for its resistance to outdoor investment and home For a 50+1 ownership model, It has three clubs with connections to others – Augsburg, Kaiserslautern and RB Leipzig.

Across Europe’s “Big Five” leagues, 32.7 per cent of clubs are part of multi-club models, 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. Multi-club ownership is set to grow rather than decline.

Clubs view the strategy as a tool that can help circumvent post-Brexit Governing Body Certification Rules (GBE), While also being a useful way to develop academy players who would otherwise not be able to play first-team football.

Brexit has made it difficult for players to obtain a work permit, and in the GBE system tournaments across Europe they are ranked by quality and prestige. La Liga, for example, is in Band One and deserves more GBE qualification points as a result, while Denmark’s Superliga is in Band Five and deserves fewer points.

There is a reason why UK-based clubs look 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 and of which Manchester City is president, has a group of 11 clubs in countries including India, Australia, the United States and Japan.

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

New York City player Thiago Andrade, current MLS champion (Photo: Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images).

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

CFG is the biggest – and the most successful in terms of titles if not necessarily revenue – when it comes to multi-club ownership and the model is profitable closer to home as well.

In the just-ended summer transfer window, CFG waited until Southampton imposed a penalty on Oriol Romeu’s departure to Girona, the club where he owns 47 per cent, before sending Manchester City. Samuel Idouzi And the Juan Larios to St Mary’s. Southampton also loaned the goalkeeper Matthews Liz To the CFG Troyes Club.

Brentford owner Matthew Benham took advantage of the benefits of owning more than one club in your portfolio and took 75 per cent of the shares in Danish side Midtjylland in 2014; But Tony Fernandez, co-owner of Queens Park Rangers adjacent to west London, may have been in the lead.

Fernandez founded Petaling Jaya Rangers in Selangor, Malaysia in 2011, the same year he bought QPR. The two clubs announced a partnership in 2016, which saw QPR set up an academy in Malaysia and advise on coaching players and coaches.

Fleetwood Town, from League One, did a similar job last year. Its owner, Andy Bailey, has established new clubs in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa in the hope of developing football players there. The team located in the United Arab Emirates is called Fleetwood United Football Club and is the team located in South Africa by Western Cape Fleetwood Football Club.

“We are experts in building football clubs and developing players and this is something we are really happy to do in the UAE and South Africa,” said Bailey. “We are a forward-looking team. It’s one thing that Manchester City have a network of clubs, but who would have thought their tiny little Fleetwood would go the same way?”

Southampton are the latest English side to enter the multi-club world, with new owners Sport Republic – the majority of their shareholders following the takeover last January – buying a 70 per cent stake in Turkish club Goztepe in August. Sport Republic, a group owned by Rasmus Ankersen, former director of football operations at Brentford and Benham employee, is hoping several acquisitions will follow.

Several US investors in the Premier League already had stakes in sports franchises back home before they tried their hand at English football.

Stan Kroenke, owner of Arsenal, has a portfolio that includes MLS team Colorado Rapids, NFL Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks champions NBA and judgment NHL Ice hockey smash Colorado Avalanche.

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

Kroenke’s impressive stable closely follows the stability of Dave Blitzer, an American who owns an 18 per cent stake in Palace. Blitzer can count Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), New Jersey Devils (NHL) and Cleveland Guardians (MLB) as teams included in his portfolio.

as well as owning Manchester UnitedAfter completing a controversial leveraged buyout in 2005, the Glazer family was in charge of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. LiverpoolThe Fenway Sports Group, headed by John W. Henry, includes the Boston Red Sox (MLB) and Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL) under their club umbrella.

BournemouthReturning to the Premier League last season, it is the latest club to be pursued by an American businessman. Bill Foley has exclusive talks with Maxim Demin, the Russian owner of the club, regarding a proposed purchase. Foley already has sports experience as the owner of the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL.

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

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

Whether it is a minority or majority of the stock is almost irrelevant.

Owning a stake in another team opens up avenues not available to individual club owners.

(Top Image: Michael Reagan/Getty Images)

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