Football Federation Australia (FFA) has today announced that the acquisition of the Melbourne Heart licence in the Hyundai A-League by English Premier League club Manchester City and its Australian partners has been approved.
Under the terms of the transaction, the new owners will assume responsibility for all existing obligations of Melbourne Heart.
FFA CEO David Gallop said the acquisition of the Melbourne Heart licence was a huge vote of confidence in the future of the Hyundai A-League.
“Football has moved into the mainstream of Australian sport and is ideally placed to benefit from the boom in football across Asia,” said Gallop.
“Manchester City and their Australian partners have made a strategic investment and I welcome them to our growing competition. It’s another sign that the world is taking notice of Australian football.
“Manchester City and their partners will bring a high level of expertise in football and sports business matters and that can only strengthen the Melbourne Heart and the Hyundai A-League as a whole.”
The Australian partners are also part of the ownership group of National Rugby League (NRL) club the Melbourne Storm, but the Heart and the Storm will remain separate entities.
“The arrangements we have approved will see Manchester City have an 80% share,” said Gallop.
“There may be some common directors between the Heart and the Storm, but we are comfortable with the plan that the Heart will be largely a separately operated business, similar to the arrangements in Newcastle with the Jets and the Knights.”
Gallop has commended Manchester City and its Australian partners for their professional manner in completing the acquisition.
“The initial discussions began with our chairman Frank Lowy over a year ago in New York and we’ve been impressed with the clear strategic approach to the acquisition,” said Gallop.
“The new owners are taking a long-term view of this investment, which fits perfectly with our strategic plans for the A-League and the growth trajectory of Australian football.”