Man City ownership buys Chinese club to expand portfolio

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              Manchester City's Leroy Sane, right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English FA Cup fifth round soccer match between Newport County and Manchester City at Rodney Parade stadium in Newport, Wales, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi ownership has expanded its portfolio of soccer clubs by purchasing Sichuan Jiuniu FC, which plays in China’s third tier.

City Football Group, of which English champion Man City is the flagship team, already has the following partnership clubs: New York City in Major League Soccer, Melbourne City in Australia’s A-League, Girona in Spain’s top division, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay. The group also has a “collaboration agreement” with Venezuelan team Atletico Venezuela.

Sichuan Jiuniu is based in Chengdu, plays in a 27,000-capacity stadium, and begins its new season next month.

CFG chief executive Ferran Soriano says “China is an extremely important football market, which we have been focused on for some time.” He says CFG is “making a long-term, sustainable commitment to grow and develop Sichuan Jiuniu FC and to nurture Chinese footballing talent.”

The purchase was announced Wednesday.