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Friday, June 2, 2023
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Corporation conglomerates, the future of football? 

Lommel, a city in northeastern Belgium that is associated with sand mining, is a small European city. Lommel S.K. is their local team and it was established 19 years ago. Iterations of their football club appeared in 1927 and they have never competed in the top division for Belgium during the time. 

There was practically no reason for anyone outside of Belgium who would be aware of Lommel. That is until 2020, where the small club was purchased by Manchester City’s conglomerate group, City Football Group. Regardless, even now, one of their players is considered to be worth more or less about $500,000.

It seems that the whole world is headed in this direction. In the world of luxury fashion, Kering owns Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and LVMH owns Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi. These brands were mostly small European fashion houses up till the 1990s. Now, in that segment, there has been a rise in popularity and consumer base for all of these brands. It is no surprise that football, one of the world’s largest and most profitable industries, is deciding to end up in the same route. 

Currently, the clubs listed in the City Football group are:

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1. Manchester City
2. New York City
3. Melbourne City
4. Yokohama F. Marinos
5. Montevideo City Torque
6. Girona FC
7. Sichuan Jiuniu
8. Mumbai City FC
9. Lommel SK

Their total revenue in 2020 totalled up to £544.4 million. Their total assets are £1.5 billion and are currently owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group.  

This is despite being a member of practically one of the largest collective football groups in the world. Now, with the power of major teams backing them up, they have the advantage of splurging more on their players, more than ever before in their history. 

The first thing Lommel decided to do on their list was to get a new backup goalie. They spotted a perfect new goalie for the club and was signed on to their team. The biggest teams in Belgium, Anderlecth, Standard Liege and Club Brugge would not be able to get a new player as fast and on such a scale as Lommel did. 

Currently, Lommel is being run like a subsidiary of a large corporation rather than a conventional football club. Khaldoon Al Mubarak, one of the founders of City Football Group stated “There is no way that a team like Lommel would have a fraction of the access that it has right now to a global network of data, from Melbourne to Montevideo to Italy.”

11 clubs worldwide are owned entirely or in part by City Football Group. More football players have contracts under its control than any other organisation. Although other investors and investing groups have numerous clubs, none are operating on the same scale as the conglomerate and have made nearly as much progress.


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