Mercury 13, a group led by sports entrepreneur Victoire Cogevina Reynal, said they are set to invest $100 million in acquiring women’s football clubs in Europe and Latin America, starting with England’s second division side Lewes FC.
The group includes former players such as ex-England forward Eni Aluko, also a former Aston Villa and Angel City FC sporting director, and ex-Italy goalkeeper Arianna Criscione.
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Former FIFA Chief Innovation Officer Luis Vicente and Nancy Hensley, formerly chief of product and marketing at Stats Perform, are also part of the group.
Lewes play in the FA Women’s Championship, which is one tier below the Women’s Super League in England’s pyramid. They also reached the FA Cup quarter-finals last season, losing to eventual runners-up Manchester United.
In 2017, the club became the first to split its budget and resources equally between the men’s and women’s teams.
“Lewes was a clear choice since they represent many core principles of how we believe a women’s club should be managed,” Cogevina said in a statement on Thursday.
“Building a world-class management team and advisory board has been my first order of business. Women’s football lacks dedicated executives who can take the business to the next level and transform it into the best asset class of our generation.”
The group said they are also in advanced negotiations to acquire first division teams in Spain and Italy while clubs in Argentina and Uruguay are their next targets.
The announcement comes on the back of the runaway success of the Women’s World Cup, with the final having record television viewing figures for women’s football in Spain and England.
The ninth edition of the tournament also had record attendance with nearly two million fans flocking to stadiums in Australia and New Zealand.