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US businesswoman Michelle Kang acquires London City Lionesses

US businesswoman Michelle Kang US businesswoman Michelle Kang - The Canadian Press

LONDON (AP) — U.S.-based businesswoman Michele Kang has acquired the London City Lionesses in English soccer's second division.

The deal announced on Friday follows an agreement in May, when Kang entered into a partnership with the owner of French club Lyon to form an international multi-team women’s soccer organization.

Financial terms of the London deal were not disclosed.

“I see tremendous possibility in this team and look forward to helping the club and the players reach their highest potential,” she said. “I want to inspire young female athletes to keep playing and see a future for themselves in the sport they love.”

Kang is also the majority owner of the Washington Spirit of the National Women's Soccer League. She is aiming to build the “preeminent female sports organization in the world,” a statement by Kang and the Lionesses read.

“This deal is a continuation of Kang’s mission to create a level playing field between men and women in football.”

London City is an independent club that plays in the division under the top-flight Women’s Super League.

The acquisition comes as the WSL and second-tier Championship transition into a potentially more lucrative governance structure. The English Football Association runs both leagues but a new independent body — NewCo — is set to take over ahead of the 2024-25 season when each of the 24 professional clubs will act as shareholders.

“The NewCo model for (the two leagues) is a great example of how women’s sports will be uplifted in England and globally,” Kang said in Friday’s announcement. ”We need more investment focused solely on the female game so that the resources are uncompromised.”

Kang is the founder and CEO of Cognosante, a Virginia-based technology company. She was born and raised in South Korea.

The Lionesses were established in 2019 by founder Diane Culligan.

“I am thrilled to be handing over the reins to Michele,” Culligan said. “Her leadership, drive and determination will continue to pave the way to achieving growth and sustainability in the women’s game.”


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