Man City buy Melbourne club

Manchester City have announced they are to acquire an 80 per cent share in Australian A-League side Melbourne Heart FC.

A consortium led by the Premier League club also includes the ownership group of the NRL side Melbourne Storm as minority shareholders with a 20 per cent stake.

The news follows months of discussions and is believed to have been signed off by Football Federation Australia on Wednesday night.

Heart are currently bottom of the 10-team A-League after 15 games with eight points, having won their first game of the campaign last Friday when they beat Newcastle.

Former Liverpool winger Harry Kewell currently plays for the Melbourne side.

The investment in Melbourne Heart follows Man City's establishment of New York City FC in May 2013, who will enter Major League Soccer in the United States in the 2015 season.

Ferran Soriano, CEO of Manchester City, said: "We are excited about the opportunity to make Melbourne Heart one of the most successful football clubs in Australia and throughout the region.

"We believe the strong sports culture of Melbourne combined with the football and commercial expertise within our consortium will make for a powerful combination both on and off the pitch."

Regarding its plans for the club, he added: "The first thing we must do is take the time to listen and learn and then to develop our strategy for strengthening the club over time."

Out of respect for the coaching staff and the players in the middle of the A-League season, the new ownership group will not be making any major announcements until mid-2014.