The Club Collectors: An overview of football’s multi-team owners


City Football Group invested into their ninth club this week – Belgian second division side Lommel SK – and remain interested in securing a deal for French Ligue 2 team AS Nancy, but they’re not the only ones for whom a single club isn’t enough.

Having a close relationship with other clubs can be mutually beneficial – and not just for commercial reasons such as marketing or sponsorships.

Teams that share the same investors can pool their resources and expertise in scouting, data analysis and player recruitment.

They can also trade players and share personnel or facilities, which could potentially give some sides an edge if football feels a financial squeeze post-coronavirus.

To clear up any confusion for football fans struggling to track the cash in the global game, we’ve highlighted some of the most prominent multi-team owners around the world and the clubs they wholly, mostly or partially control.

City Football Group

New York’s Yankee Stadium configured for soccer (credit: NYCFC)

CFG’s claim they’re ‘creating globally connected football communities’ and it’s certainly true that their reach stretches all around the world.

The company is 77% owned by Sheikh Mansour’s Abu Dhabi United Group, with the remaining shares split between China Media Capital (CMC – 13%) and American private equity firm Silver Lake (10%).

Manchester City of the Premier League are self-evidently the primary club, with Melbourne City in Australia and New York City (80% ownership) in the MLS the direct spin-offs.

Beyond the recently purchased Lommel SK, CFG also own a controlling stake in Montevideo City Torque in Uruguay and Mumbai City in India (65%), plus a dominant 44.30% of Spain’s Girona.

The group also holds 20% of Japanese team Yokohama F. Marinos and 28% of Chinese second tier team Sichuan Jiuniu, with another 54% of the latter held directly by CMC, to give them truly global reach.

Red Bull GmbH

Red Bull’s Leipzig (left) and Salzburg face off in the Europa League (credit: EPA)

The energy drink giant is owned 51% by Thai billionaire Chalerm Yoovidhya and 49% by Managing Director Dietrich Mateschitz – it’s the Austrian who’s been the driving force behind Red Bull’s big moves into sports.

After first transforming SV Austria Salzburg into Red Bull Salzburg in his homeland, other members of the company’s football portfolio now include New York Red Bulls of the MLS, the Bundesliga’s RB Leipzig and Red Bull Bragantino, who were promoted to Brazil’s Série A last season.

The Brazilian team still use the failed Red Bull Brasil as a feeder team in the regional leagues, whilst FC Liefering of the Austrian second tier were absorbed into the group too, to support Salzburg.

King Power International Group

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, son of the late Leicester City chairman and owner Vichai, has taken over the reins at Belgian second division team OH Leuven since his father’s helicopter crash, as well as the former English champions.

Pozzo family

The Pozzo footballing empire may be down to two clubs at the moment, but Giampaolo still controls Udinese, with son Gino in charge at Watford. Loans between the two, when the Hornets were trying to get into the Premier League a few years ago, caused controversy among rivals and brought club co-ownership into focus.

Evangelos Marinakis

Olympiacos and Forest walk out for a pre-season friendly (credit: NFFC)

The wealthy Greek shipping magnate, media baron and politician (who was himself hit by the coronavirus) owns not only the perennial champions of his homeland, Olympiacos, but also more than 75% of sleeping giants Nottingham Forest.

Matthew Benham

Benham’s co-ownership of Denmark’s league leaders Midtjylland alongside Brentford has given the playoff-bound Championship club strong ties to Danish football and value for money transfers – they currently have 11 Danish players on their books, plus Danish head and assistant coaches.

Vincent Tan

Controversial Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan retains a 10% stake in Los Angeles FC and 30% of FK Sarajevo in Bosnia, as well as full ownership of KV Kortrijk in Belgium and Cardiff City of the English second tier.

Zhang Jindong

The rich Chinese entrepreneur holds a controlling 68.55% share of Italian giants Inter Milan, in addition to 48.10% of Jiangsu Suning back in his homeland.

Jiang Lizhang

Lizhang, also from China, purchased Spain’s Granada CF from the Pozzo family four years ago. He also owns 30% of Serie A side Parma and 90% of Chongqing Dangdai Lifan in the Chinese Super League.

Peter Lim

Peter Lim (centre) at Wembley with the ‘Class of ’92’ (credit: Independent)

Singaporean billionaire investor Lim owns 40% of English fourth tier club Salford City, alongside six former Manchester United players, on top of his controlling stake in Spanish giants Valencia.

Rybolovlev family

The Russian family control elite Ligue 1 team AS Monaco – Dmitry is president, but their 66% stake is held by a trust in daughter Ekaterina’s name. Via Monaco, they have also invested in Belgian side Cercle Brugge, as a feeder club for young talent.

Atlético Madrid

The Spanish giants own half of Mexican top flight side Atlético San Luis and all of Canadian Premier League team Atlético Ottawa.

AFC Ajax

The Netherlands’ most successful club also own 51% of South African sister club Ajax Cape Town.


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