Football hasn’t been the same as it was before the turn of the century. With business tycoons coming in and trying to expand with the help of football club purchases, the beautiful game has somewhat turned into a money game.
Football club owners have gone ahead and purchased other football clubs in an attempt to launch a multi-club model that will help them from a business perspective in the long run. Keeping that in mind, here is a list of the top football teal owners who have multi-club models in Europe.
Todd Boehly – Chelsea & Strasbourg
The most recent newcomers to the multi-club model. Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital took over from Roman Abramovich as Chelsea’s new owners in the summer of 2022. Although, not a memorable debut season for the Blues’ new owners, they have started taking strides from a business point of view at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea and Boehly kickstarted their multi-club project by purchasing nearly 100%of stakes at French top-flight club Strasbourg. Reports in France have suggested Chelsea have paid nearly $75m to buy a stake at the Ligue 1 club. The size of the stake is unknown but it is believed to be enough for Boehly and Co to pull major strings at Strasbourg.
By being able to pull off a deal for a majority stake at the French club, Chelsea have paved the way for their academy graduates in a country that produces some of the best young footballers in the world. Boehly and Clearlake Capital have initiated a practice followed by many other successful clubs in Europe and this might just be the beginning of something huge for the Chelsea fans.
Bill Foley – Bournemouth & FC Lorient
It’s been a year of changes at the Vitality Stadium. Before Andoni Iraola’s arrival as new manager of the Cherries, Bill Foley took over the ownership of Bournemouth in late December 2022 and followed that by acquiring a stake at French club FC Lorient in January 2023.
In doing this, Foley’s public desire of him building a multi-club model finally began to take shape with his presence as well as Black Knight Football Club. This gives the businessman the opportunity to expand his football network in a bid to help Bournemouth challenge against the very best in Europe.
After their Ligue 1 safety was confirmed in the 2022/23 season where they finished 15th, Foley was on course to buy a minority stake at Lorient but one which gives him and the Cherries to benefit something from.
Foley confirmed the acquisition with a statement on the club’s official website, saying: “We are excited to announce a strategic partnership and investment in FC Lorient today.
“Loïc Fery has successfully built a best-in-class football club and will be a great partner as we build BKFE into a leading multi-club football operator. I look forward to partnering with Loïc and his team to accelerate the success of FC Lorient and BKFE.”
Pozzo family – Watford & Udinese
The Pozzo family needs no introduction to football fans, especially those linked with Watford in some way or the other. Giampaolo Pozzo, who has a business in woodcarving and appliances, has been the owner of Udinese since 1986. His son – Gino Pozzo – is the owner of Watford FC who play in the second tier of English football.
Recently in 2022, reports emerged that the Pozzo family were in talks to sell Udinese to a US businessman along with a 10% stake of Watford as well.
🔺 Pozzo family in advanced talks to sell significant stake in Udinese to a US company
🔺 Deal expected to include a minority share – around 10% – in Watford
🔺 Both clubs declined to comment@AdamLeventhal, @mjshrimper and @polballushttps://t.co/i9vIXWGFII
— The Athletic | Football (@TheAthleticFC) October 26, 2022
Gerry Cardinale – AC Milan & Toulouse
This one somewhat sits in the grey area. Gerry Cardinale, the owner of RedBird Capital which owns both AC Milan and Toulouse was also part of both the clubs’ boards up until recently.
Cardinale decided to resign from the Toulouse board after there was confusion that rose according to certain UEFA rules. Other board members of RedBird are still in charge of Toulouse until further clarification is given by UEFA. But since Gerry Cardinale is the chairman of RedBird Capital and the firm owns both AC Milan and Toulouse, he can be rightly called the owner os both clubs, regardless of his resignation from the French clubs’ board.
Sheikh Mansour – Manchester City & Girona FC
The City Football Group led by Sheikh Mansour have stamped their authority in most parts of the football world. It all started with Manchester City’s takeover in 2008 and since then it has been an uphill curve for CFG. They own multiple clubs across the world – Man City, New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F Marinos, Montevideo City Torque, Girona FC, Sichuan Jiuniu, Mumbai City FC, Lommel SK, Troyes, Palermo, Bahia and Club Bolivar.
Despite owning different levels of stakes at so many clubs, only two of them have a presence in the top-flight of Europe’s top five leagues – Treble winners and Pep Guardiola led Man City and Spanish La Liga side Girona FC. The Sky Blues don’t look like slowing down in terms of winning trophies and Guardiola somehow just keeps improving his team every year.
Girona on the other hand, since their relegation to the Spanish second-tier in 2019 have come back stronger and established themselves as a Spanish top-flight team. In their most recent season, Girona finished a respectable 10th and look like only getting better with time.