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Friday, July 19, 2024

Lyon women’s team bought by Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang

Michele Kang has completed the purchase of Olympique Lyonnais Feminin (OLF).

Kang — who already owns NWSL side Washington Spirit and England Women’s Championship team London City Lionesses — will be the majority owner with a 52.9 per cent stake.

OL Groupe will own 47.1 per cent of the organisation via OL Association (a public independent association consolidated by OL Groupe) and Olympique Lyonnais SASU.

Kang will be the president of OLF while Vincent Ponsot, former general manager of Lyon’s men’s football, will become CEO of OLF. The OL Groupe will benefit from minority representation on OLF’s board of directors.

Described as a “first-of-a-kind transaction” for a mixed French football team, the deal aims to “foster the full and independent development of the Olympique Lyonnais women’s team”.

The record eight-time Champions League and 16-time league winners have a rich history in women’s football but Kang’s focus is to raise the bar even higher by increasing professional standards within the women’s game.

In a press conference, she identified increasing the quantity and quality of training staff who work solely with the women’s side, constructing a training campus dedicated to women’s and girls’ teams and building a new 15,000-20,000 capacity stadium for the women’s team.

“I am honored to complete this transaction and carry the legacy of Olympique Lyonnais Feminin forward,” said Kang.

“I can only hope that the ambition and support I provide matches that of the club’s staff, players and fans. I also want to express my appreciation for everyone at the OL Groupe for the collaboration on the project so far and for the years — and hopefully trophies — to come.”

U.S. businessman John Textor, who took over Olympique Lyonnais in December 2022, added: “On behalf of all of our family at Olympique Lyonnais, I am thrilled to formally welcome Michele Kang as majority owner, and as our leading partner, in the global advancement of OL Feminin.”

Textor, who added the OL Groupe to his football investments under his holding company Eagle Football, continued: “Michele is already a great partner of OL, and now she has our complete confidence to pursue an ambitious agenda in support of the No. 1 women’s football club in the world.”

The purchase of OLF follows the agreement reached in May 2023 between Kang and OL Groupe to form a global women’s football organisation.

Under Kang’s leadership, the group intends to expand to include multiple women’s football clubs across the world.

(FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

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