Who are the current owners of Girona?
Manchester City’s parent company City Football Group is the biggest single owner of Girona FC.
The group originally acquired a 44.3 per cent stake in 2017. Their shares increased to 47 per cent in 2020.
Other shareholders include Bolivian-American businessman Marcelo Claure and Pere Guardiola, who is the brother of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
City Football Group owns a number of football clubs worldwide. This includes EC Bahia in Brazil, New York City FC in the US, Melbourne City in Australia and Champions League winners Manchester City.
What is the breakdown of ownership?
|City Football Group
|Girona Football Group
Who are the directors of Girona?
Pere Guardiola is the ‘president of the board’. He leads the entity Girona Football Group and also works as a football agent.
Marcelo Claure is a board member. He is the president of CFG club Club Bolivar in Bolivia.
Claure used to co-own Inter Miami with David Beckham and the billionaire Mas brothers. He sold his stake in late 2021.
Other board members include John MacBeath and Simon Cliff. MacBeath is a board member of CFG and Cliff is CFG’s general counsel.
WeWork marketing vice-president Roger Sole also sits on the club’s board.
Former footballer Delfí Geli is the club’s president and he has held that position since 2015.
Ignasi Mas-Bagà, who used to be the club’s chairman, is Girona’s chief executive.
When did City Football Group buy Girona and who was the previous owner?
City Football Group acquired Girona in 2017. The previous owner of the club was a French sports company.
CFG is belived to have paid €7m to buy Girona.
The acquisition was an equal partnership deal with Pere Guardiola’s Girona Football Group.
Pere Guardiola sold 35 per cent of the club to Claure for an undisclosed fee in 2020.
In the same negotiation process that year, City Football Group increased its stake.
What is City Football Group’s record as Girona owner?
Girona, a historically modest club, are making a surprise charge for the Spanish league title.
In the season that City Football Group bought the club, Girona were promoted to the top flight but then dropped back into the second division. They spent three years in LaLiga 2 before promotion in 2022.
With a 14,000 capacity stadium, the 93-year-old club has put four or more goals past top clubs this season. This includes beating Sevilla, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid.
Former Manchester United player Danny Blind, ex-Spurs back-up keeper Paulo Gazzaniga and Uruguayan veteran and captain Cristhian Stuani, who played for Middlesborugh for two seasons, are part of a hard-working side playing expressive attacking football under Madrid-born coach Míchel.
Should they fall short of a miracle league win, they could still secure a Champions League spot.
What does it mean for Manchester City if Girona FC qualify for the Champions League?
Should Girona qualify for the Champions League, City Football Group may face some administrative challenges.
Both Manchester City and Girona FC will be hoping to play in the Champions League.
Uefa rules on multi-club ownership are complex. The Red Bull management structure at Leipzig in Germany and Salzburg in Austria were forced to make changes to director boards and operations at each club in 2017 to ensure that they met the governing body’s eligibility tests – and could both take part in European competition.
The rules effectively meant Red Bull had to prove they had Chinese walls separating RB Leipzig from Red Bull Salzburg. The remodelling of commercial activities and governance allowed the energy drinks company to ensure that neither club held sway over the other.
What changes could be made to allow Manchester City and Girona to play in the Champions League?
Given that CFG do not have a majority stake in Girona, there is greater leeway which may allow both clubs to compete in the Champions League.
Uefa’s rules say that no entity may own more than 50 per cent in more than one club in a competition, nor have the power to appoint or remove the majority of members on a directors’ board.
But in more explicit terms, Uefa regulations state that no individual or legal entity participating in a continental competition “may have control of influence over more than one club participating in a Uefa club competition”. The criteria defines that this includes “being able to exercise by any means a decisive influence in the decision-making of the club”.
This would likely mean that CFG must deal with any overlaps between the two football clubs.
Among those who may have to change roles are businessman John MacBeath, who is both on Girona’s and CFG’s board of directors.
Financial lawyer Simon Cliff is also on the board of directors at Girona, while holding a position as the General Counsel at CFG.
Uefa may also look at other links, including sponsorship or other partnership agreements.
In the decision to allow both RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg to play in the Champions League, Uefa’s Adjudicatory Chamber analysed commercial links to the energy drinks company in its judgement, stating agreements were “amended”.
Both Girona and Manchester City share sponsors including trading platform Axi, which also has links with CFG club EC Bahia.
Will City Football Group face any restrictions?
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin suggested nearly a year ago that the governing body would soften rules on multi-club ownership.
Ahead of this season, Uefa opened cases against the likes of Aston Villa, Brighton and AC Milan over their respective partnerships with Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal, Royal Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium and Toulouse in France.
All clubs passed Uefa’s tests as the governing body said structures were reformed so that no individuals had conflicts of interest and power was shared.
But the findings also imposed transfer restrictions on the clubs, forbidding the sharing of scouting and transfers of players, including loans.
For now, Girona’s fullback Yan Couto can enjoy playing in red and white. But the Brazilian player, who is currently on loan from Manchester City, may not be able to return next season if the Catalan club confirm their spot in next season’s Champions League.