In the last decade, European football has witnessed a new phenomenon of billionaire owners. Clubs such as Chelsea, Monaco, PSG and Manchester City have all been purchased by private owners or a consortium who in turn invested heavily in the clubs. Even though acquisitions have been made not just at the top end of the football chain but also in lower divisions, the common trend is that most of the investment came from Asia and Europe- until now.
Nigerian businessman Kunle Soname has become the first Nigerian to own majority shares in an European football club after concluding negotiations to acquire Portuguese second division side, Clube Desportivo Feirense.
The purchase was confirmed via an official statement from the club. “We [have] effected a transformation of our club through the sale of part of the capital to our new partners, Tavisstock Global Resource Ltd, led by Mr. Kunle Soname.”
Soname, who also owns Remo Stars, a Nigerian football club says the takeover was the next step as he grows in the business.
“Securing Clube Desportivo Feirense was the next step in the right direction for me. I love everything about the club: the organisation, the philosophy and the fans I have no intention of changing anything in the club because I am satisfied with their operations. Rather, I want to ensure the progress of the club through promotion to the Portuguese Primera division.”
Soname’s business interests in Nigeria include sports betting as he is chairman of Bet9ja, a market leader in Nigeria’s very lucrative betting industry. According to him, his experience in the Nigerian business space will help grow his new Portuguese club. Soname also hopes to create a viable working relationship between Remo Stars and Clube Desportivo Feirense.
“Having been involved in Nigerian football over the years by running Remo Stars Football club, I felt it was time to further develop the team. It would also bring benefits for Nigerian football through players transfer, training for officials and administrators, who have proven they have what it takes to succeed in Europe.”