Manchester City have grown their international network of affiliate clubs with the purchase of a stake in Japanese club Yokohama F Marinos, adding the J-League side to a worldwide “City family” which includes 2015 MLS expansion team New York City FC and Australian side Melbourne Heart.
“We’re thrilled to be able to play a role in investing and building on the ongoing success of YF Marinos,” said Ferran Soriano, CEO of City Football Group, City's parent company, in a statement. “We are proud to offer a collaborative and integrated approach to the football, marketing, media and commercial development of all the clubs in the City family.
“At the same time, we are proud that each of our clubs is firmly rooted and invested in its local community as well as connected and engaged with its supporter base. We are very much looking forward to starting our collaboration.”
Three-time J-League champions and four-time Asian champions, Yokohama were previously owned by the Nissan Motor Co. Under their new relationship with City, the club will gain “unrivalled access to CFG’s training methods, medical care, sport science, team management and coaching know-how” as well as its business and management expertise.
CFG also pledged to focus on the development of young Japanese players, with an eye towards the long-term gain of the country's national team.
Earlier this month City won their second English Premier League trophy in the past three seasons, and that ascension in their domestic landscape has been mirrored by the construction of an ambitious global network. NYCFC will make their MLS debut next season.