City Football Group arrives in the Andes with Bolivar partnership
City Football Group, the collective of soccer teams headed up by English Premier League powerhouse Manchester City, has today unveiled Bolivia’s Club Bolivar as its first partner club.
CFG said Bolivar, Bolivia’s most successful team, with 29 domestic league titles, will be able to tap in to expertise, proprietary technology, best practice and strategic advice developed by the group over the last seven years.
In particular, the club based in La Paz in the Andes will have access to advice on scouting and coaching methodologies, youth academy development strategies and sports science, plus CFG’s proprietary Football Data and Insights Platform, which offers various tools and dashboards, to enhance analysis of its teams and players.
CFG will also help Bolivar to grow partnership revenue, develop first-rate facilities, promote improvements across the Bolivian league and support the development of the club’s leading executives.
Bolivar are owned by Marcelo Claure, an influential Bolivian businessman who is chief executive of Japan-based international conglomerate SoftBank and part of the ownership group of North American Major League Soccer team Inter Miami, headed up by retired England star David Beckham.
The new partnership represents a diversion from CFG’s core strategy, which has been to build up a portfolio of clubs in multiple territories around the world, with mutual benefits both on and off the pitch.
In addition to Manchester City, which have won four Premier League titles in the last decade, and the equivalent women’s team, CFG, which is majority owned by Abu Dhabi United Group, oversees stakes in New York City of USA, Melbourne City of Australia, Yokohama F. Marinos of Japan, Montevideo City Torque of Uruguay, Girona of Spain, Sichuan Jiuniu of China, Mumbai City of India, Lommel of Belgium and Troyes of France.
CFG chief executive Ferran Soriano said on Tuesday: “This long-term agreement is the first of its kind and will enable Club Bolivar to draw down on and utilise the wide range of football industry expertise developed by City Football Group.
“As well as supporting Club Bolivar’s ambitions, we have an opportunity to learn. Our work in Bolivia will certainly strengthen our knowledge of, and network in, South American football. Club Bolivar is the biggest and best club in Bolivia with a rich and successful history. We are excited by Marcelo’s vision for the Club and we are looking forward to working together and striving to help Club Bolivar achieve very ambitious goals in the coming future.”
Claure added: “Today, a dream becomes reality. Club Bolivar joins the City Football Group family as a Partner Club, consolidating a long-term project developing world-class football, corporate and infrastructure standards that will enable Club Bolivar to become even bigger. We will utilise the expertise and advice that CFG brings to continue in our goal to place Bolivar as a top club in Latin America.
“Led by our recently appointed Sporting Director, Javier Recio, and now supported by the advice and expertise of City Football Group’s consultant, Bolivian native Rodrigo Marion, Club Bolivar aims to build a strong organisation and develop players to help the nation qualify for the World Cup. This arrangement will allow Club Bolivar to call upon the significant experience and knowledge of City Football Group to help it realise its ambition to develop leaders on and off the pitch and give Bolivian kids the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”
Bolivia is traditionally one of the weakest soccer nations in South America, and has not qualified for the World Cup since 1994.
Last year, Claure was reported to have made an offer of $100 million over 10 years for the media rights to Bolivia’s top-tier División Profesional, but this was rejected by the FBF, the national federation, which was opposed to such a long deal.Following the cancellation of a contract with the SportTV Rights agency, the FBF this month launched a new tender for domestic rights to its top leagues for 2021 to 2024, setting a base price of $48 million.