OL Groupe, owner of Olympique Lyonnais, and Michele Kang, who owns the Spirit of Washington, a professional women’s football club, announced in a press release on Tuesday May 16 at 7 p.m. “signed an agreement to create a global multi-team women’s football structure”. The American businesswoman, 63, will be the majority shareholder and president of this new entity. In fact, she is therefore the new boss of the women’s section of OL. Founder and CEO of Cognosante, a technology company specializing in advising governments on health issues, she explains to the World its strategy. “The new organization aims to acquire additional clubs in other countries in Europe, America and Asia”, specifies the press release sent by OL. Michele Kang will also join the board of directors of OL Groupe.
You are neighbor, in Florida, of John Textor, the new owner of OL, but there is, of course, more than a geographical proximity at the origin of your arrival in Lyon…
Since owning the Washington Spirit, my ambition has been to create a global multi-club platform in women’s soccer. We were looking for the best possible partner. I didn’t know anything about Eagle Football or John Textor. When the deal to buy OL by Eagle Football was concluded in December 2022, I saw it as an opportunity to make my project a reality. I asked investment bank Raine Group to introduce me to John Textor. We happened to be neighbors. We met for the first time in January and, with pion, I told him how great it would be to have him as a partner in building this unprecedented organization in women’s football.
You are now 52% owner of a new structure which owns the Spirit franchise and OL women. Can you explain to us the form and operation of it?
It will be an “umbrella structure”, of which the Spirit and OL will be part, with, I hope, other teams later. There will be a very small and centralized board and management at group level, which I will chair, but each entity will operate on its own. No names and colors will be changed, we respect each city’s history and local fans. These two teams deserve all the specific investment and attention that on their scale only one cannot obtain.
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