Mumbai: With Manchester City's parent company City Football Group (CFG) buying a majority stake in Mumbai City FC on Thursday, Nita Ambani, chairperson Football Sports Development Limited and Reliance Foundation on Thursday hoped to see the Indian football team play the World Cup in her lifetime, calling it a "dream".
"I hope we can make it there one day. That's our dream. Let's hope Indian football can make it at the global stage, at the FIFA World Cup at least in my lifetime," Ambani told reporters after the landmark announcement here.
"Our focus is going to be that all teams contribute to grassroots sport. We have so much talent like Sandesh Jhingan," she said.
Echoing Ambani, CFG Chief Executive Officer Ferran Soriano said: "This is our priority number one. We want to get to kids early."
"For the first-time ever, a European club will be acquiring a majority stake in an Indian club. City Football Group are the owners of Manchester City FC, who are the champions of the Premier League. And they also own other leading clubs like New York City FC and Melbourne City FC. CGF along with all its club including Man City will now join hands with ISL's very own Mumbai City FC. What a big day for Indian football," added Ambani while announcing the development.
"I am sure Mumbai City FC and Indian Football will benefit from this historic partnership," she said.
A senior Mumbai City FC official said that it took a while for the decision to be made and it did not happen overnight.
"The focus was how we can improve football in the city. We felt that add a lot of value from the football point of view and CFG felt that they can add lot of value from football point of view. The central pillar of this association is in improving football in Mumbai City FC. Then hopefully have an effect to the national team. We both are clear that both of us are doing for football reasons," the senior official said.
The ISL team would become the eighth club in the CFG network. Other clubs in the CFG stable include New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan and Girona FC in Spain.