OL Groupe & Michele Kang Form Global Multi-Team Women’s Football Group
OL Groupe, owner of French club Olympique Lyonnais, Eagle Football Holdings, majority owner of OL Groupe and Michele Kang, owner of the Washington Spirit, have announced the signing of an agreement to create the first of its kind global multi-team women’s football organisation.
Kang will become the majority owner and CEO of the newly formed company, making it the first ever woman-owned, women-led multi-club football organisation. In an all-stock deal, OL Groupe will contribute its women’s team, and Kang, through YMK Holdings, will contribute the majority share of the Washington Spirit to create a new independent entity.
OL Groupe will continue to support the new entity through the provision of services including the use of Groupama Stadium, Groupama OL Training Center, and OL Academy. This new global platform will look to acquire additional clubs in other countries in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Ms. Kang will also join OL Groupe’s Board of Directors.
“This deal represents a major step forward in the history of women’s professional football,” said Michele Kang. “It brings together the unparalleled tradition of the 8-time Champions League winning OL Féminin and the dynamism of the 2021 NWSL Champion Spirit to usher our sport into a new era.
“The complete alignment and support for this vision among the OL Groupe board and key principals including Jean-Michel Aulas, John Textor and myself is very powerful. It is a great honour to take stewardship of OL Féminin and lead this unprecedented effort on behalf of the fans, players and staff of both teams.”
John Textor, CEO and Chairman of OL Groupe, added: “Over the past 20 years, OL Groupe has played an important role in growing the game of women’s football. Today the sport’s popularity is exploding in Europe, the US, and around the globe,”
“With a tradition of winning that is unmatched in the world of women’s football, OL Féminin has a unique opportunity in this growing market to build the Olympique Lyonnais global brand for the benefit of OL Groupe and for our remarkable athletes.
“Today’s agreement with Michele creates the ideal vehicle to accomplish that objective, securing an exciting future for OL Féminin.”
Each club will retain its own established identity, respecting its heritage and community bases. The new ownership will continue to invest strategically to upgrade infrastructure and grow the fanbase for each club.
In parallel, significant resources will be devoted centrally to developing capabilities that will be shared across all teams such as performance science and technology, data analytics, global scouting, and sporting staff development.
This deal is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, such as the approval by the National Women’s Soccer League in the US and various third-party approvals in France. The closing should take place at the end of June 2023.