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Washington Spirit Owner Buys Lyon, Plans Global Women’s Soccer Empire

  • OL Groupe has sold a majority stake in French club Olympique Lyonnais Féminin to Michele Kang.
  • Kang plans to buy additional women's soccer clubs across Europe, the Americas, and Asia.
Michele Kang plans to continue buying women's soccer clubs.
Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang has purchased a majority stake in French soccer club Olympique Lyonnais Féminin from OL Groupe to create a new women-owned soccer entity that plans to acquire additional clubs across Europe, the Americas, and Asia. 

Kang, who bought the NWSL’s Spirit in 2020, will be CEO of the yet-to-be-named new company, which is now the first women-owned organization to own multiple soccer clubs. She will also be joining OL Groupe’s board of directors.

“The combination represents hope, determination, and the necessary business steps towards shaping the future of women’s football,” Kang said in a statement. “This deal represents a major step forward in the history of women’s professional football.”

OL Groupe will retain a 48% stake in Lyon, while Kang is getting 52% as part of the all-stock deal, according to The Washington Post. Lyon has won eight women’s Champions League titles and has been reportedly valued at $54.4 million. 

OL Groupe has put its Seattle-based NWSL club OL Reign, up for sale, as offloading the Reign would avoid any potential conflict with Kang’s ownership of the Spirit and Lyon.

Kang’s vision for her global soccer network comes as the USL Super League, a potential NWSL competitor, plans to launch next year with women’s teams in eight U.S. cities.

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