City Football Group (CFG), an Abu Dhabi-based company with investments in Manchester City and 10 other football clubs, has bought a majority stake in Italian second-tier Palermo, the Sicilian club announced on Monday.
The move was confirmed at a press conference in Palermo with City chief executive Ferran Soriano and former owner Dario Mirri, who maintains a 20% stake in the club and will remain president.
“Our objective in the coming years will be to enter Serie A”, said Soriano. “It is ambitious but this club needs Serie A and it will not be easy because we will need a lot of work. Palermo are joining a family today.”
“Palermo is a great historic club and has a strong and proud identity. We will work together with Dario Mirri to consolidate his extraordinary work, which aims – in the coming years – – at the sustainable growth of Palermo. We are delighted that City Football Group has expanded its presence in Italy.”
CFG is one of the most powerful names in football and the majority owner of City, New York City FC and Melbourne City. It is a holding company, with 78% of the Abu Dhabi United Group and minority interests held by the North American Silver Lake and the Chinese companies China Media Capital and CITIC Capital.
The group also invested money in Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Montevideo City Torque in Uruguay, Girona in Spain, Sichuan Jiuniu in China, Mumbai City in India, Lommel SK in Belgium and Troyes in France.
Palermo has now been added to this list. The Sicilian club went bankrupt in 2019 and restarted as a Serie D club, the fourth tier of Italian football.
(Reporting by Peter Hall)