It’s official: Earlier today City Football Group announced it acquired a majority stake in Palermo FC, a legacy club that was recently promoted to Italy’s Serie B. Palermo will be the 12th club in CFG’s ever-expanding portfolio.
The announcement confirms whispers circulating in Italian media that CFG was courting the historic if often dysfunctional organization. Hudson River Blue first reported the potential sale on May 3, and the impending sale on June 16. Reportedly, CFG purchased an 80% stake in the club for just €6 million ($6.25 million).
Palermo were in Serie A as recently as 2017, but they were relegated to Serie D in 2019 because of administrative mismanagement – they let their insurance policy lapse, making them ineligible to play in Italy’s professional leagues. The club earned promotion to Serie C the following year, and they won promotion to Serie B just last month June after triumphing in a 28-team home-and-away tournament that saw them beat Calico Padova in the final.
When Palermo were flying high they fielded superstar players such as Andrea Belotti, Edison Cavani, and Paulo Dybala. But former owner Maurizio Zamparini’s legendary erratic behavior destabilized the club — he went through 35 managers in 15 years, and “once threatened to slice off his players’ testicles and eat them in his salad,” according to The Guardian. Zamparini sold Palermo in 2018, and the club went through an additional six directors in the following two years.
Palermo is now the 12th club to become part of the CFG family, joining Manchester City in the English Premier League and New York City FC in MLS, as well as Australia’s Melbourne City, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos, Uruguay’s Montevideo City Torque, Spain’s Girona FC (which plays in the second division), China’s Sichuan Jiuniu FC (which plays in the second division), India’s Mumbai City FC, Belgium’s Lommel SK (which plays in the third division), France’s ES Troyes AC, and Bolivia’s Club Bolivar (a “partner club” that plays in the first division).