Southampton owners set to expand network after acquiring controlling stake in Goztepe SC – Football World – England

Sport Republic, led by Serbian billionaire Dragan Šolak, bought 80% of Southampton for £200m in January.

Southampton’s owners have added the first new club to their network, acquiring a controlling stake in Turkey’s Göztepe SK.
Sportsmail reported in March how Sport Republic, the London-based company that bought Southampton in January, were hoping to add two new clubs to their portfolio by the end of the summer and Turkey was one of the countries they were targeting.

The acquisition of 70% of Goztepe SK’s shares and the investment in the first new club was confirmed yesterday.

Sport Republic, led by Serbian billionaire Dragan Šolak, as well as chief executive Rasmus Ankersen and chairman Henrik Kraft, bought an 80% stake in Southampton for £200m in January.

They have revealed plans to make the south coast country the epicenter of a portfolio of clubs similar to the City Football Group, with Manchester City at the centre, or similar to the Red Bull Group.

Increasing the number of clubs in their network could bring numerous benefits to Southampton, including in terms of recruitment.

After Brexit, foreign players must meet different criteria to play in England. The quality of the domestic league they play in is among the factors taken into account.

Satellite ownership, among other benefits, allows Southampton’s owners to buy players and send them to their partner clubs to play and gain the experience they need to move to England. Foreign teams from countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey and Portugal have been in Sport Republic’s sights.

Goztepe SK were relegated to the Turkish Second League last season, but immediate promotion would see them back in the Super League.

“We have been working on this for a long time and we are pleased to have reached an agreement. The ambition of all of us at Sport Republic is to form a portfolio with a high impact among football clubs and other sports assets around the world. And then to use our broad portfolio of sports technology businesses , to accelerate the development of these companies. I can’t wait to start implementing our strategy with Goztepe SC,” said Kraft.

Ankersen has first-hand experience of multi-network club ownership, having been a director at Brentford Football Club as well as chairman of Midtjylland, both owned by the Bees.

Now he will also be the chairman of Goztepe SC.

“Göztepe SK has a lot of potential for growth. Being the first foreign investor in Turkish football brings us new additional responsibilities. We know that many challenges await us, but we are committed to our long-term vision to develop the potential of Göztepe SK. The passion for football in Turkey is big. We hope that our methodology and ideas will help the development of the club,” said Ankersen.

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