A consortium aiming to buy 13 women’s football clubs and invest $100m has entered a period of exclusivity in its negotiations to become the new majority owner of its first target, English Women’s Championship club Lewis F.C.
The Mercury 13, whose members include former England striker Eniola Aluko, is a group led by Greek-Argentine businesswoman Victoire Kogevina Raynal, and they say they want to identify and invest in the “big clubs of the next decade”.
They are seeking a controlling stake of at least 51 per cent of Lewes’ women’s team, which reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s FA Cup last season before being knocked out of the tournament. Manchester UnitedIt finished ninth in the English Premier League last season. Lewis will open his new league season with a home match against Southampton on Sunday 27 August.
The Mercury 13 are targeting promotion to the Women’s Premier League for Lewes. “The women of Lewes FC are on the brink of greatness and we look forward to helping them achieve promotion and new levels of marketing in partnership with the Mercury 13,” said Kogevina Rinal. “.
It is also understood that the group is in negotiations with a Spanish women’s club and an Italian women’s club, and hopes to finalize those deals by the end of 2023 as well, but it looks like their first acquisition will likely be Lewes FC Women.
In 2017, Louis F.C It became the first club in the world to divide its men’s and women’s football budgets equallyUnderstandably, they have since seen twenty doubles An increase in their sponsorship revenue. Both the men’s and women’s clubs are fan-owned, and it is understood Lewis has now begun a consultation period with the 2,400 fan-owners to seek their feedback on the proposed takeover of the women’s team, before moving forward.
“Thanks to the efforts of the owners, volunteers, staff, coaches, players and managers, we have collectively built a club that we can be proud of,” said Maggie Murphy, chief executive of Lewis’s. Bearing in mind that we had only surveyed the surface of our potential influence on and off the field, we sought to identify potential partners who could not only join, but elevate our club community.
“The Mercury 13 team has demonstrated commitment to our steadfast principles of equity, fairness, fan ownership, and impact on the local and global community, which is difficult for an investment partner, which is why we’re eager to advance the talks.”
Mercury 13 named itself in honor of the 13 women who passed the test for astronauts in 1960, but were not then allowed to work at NASA. Investment bank Morgan Stanley is said to lead its investment operations and manage the group’s funds.
Along with the former Aston Villa Sporting Director Aluko, who has also worked in a sporting director role at US women’s club Angel City and was part of ITV’s panel of pundits for this summer’s Women’s World Cup. Members of the Mercury 13 also include former FIFA chief innovation officer Luis Vicente, and ex-Paris Saint-Germain. German goalkeeper Ariana Crisioni.
Among its board members is former Galatasaray CEO Ebru Koksal, who was the first woman to be elected to the European Club Association’s executive board. She is also currently a Non-Executive Director of the Professional Footballers’ Association and is the President of Women in Football.