Washington Spirit & Lyon to form first ever global multi-club women's football organisation led by Michele Kang

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NWSL side Washington Spirit and Champions League holders Lyon will come together to form a global multi-club women's football organisation.
  • Lyon & Washington Spirit now under one owner
  • Merger is led by Michele Kang
  • Both teams fighting for titles this season

WHAT HAPPENED? The initiative is the brainchild of Michele Kang, who took majority control of the Spirit back in March 2022. News of the merger also comes shortly after revolutionary Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas stepped down from his role.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Kang was in attendance for Lyon's Coupe de France final victory over Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday and a press release has now been issued confirming the agreement. OL Groupe - which owns Lyon - will be contributing its women's team, while Kang is contributing the majority share of the Washington Spirit. She hopes that the sharing of resources will drive forward the growth of women's football globally.

WHAT THEY SAID? “This deal represents a major step forward in the history of women’s professional football,” said Kang. “It brings together the unparalleled tradition of the eight-time Champions League winning OL Feminin and the dynamism of the 2021 NWSL Champion Spirit to usher our sport into a new era. The complete alignment and support for this vision among the OL Groupe board and key principals including Jean-Michel Aulas, John Textor and myself is very powerful. It is a great honor to take stewardship of OL Feminin and lead this unprecedented effort on behalf of the fans, players and staff of both teams."

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“Over the past 20 years, OL Groupe has played an important role in growing the game of women’s football. Today the sport’s popularity is exploding in Europe, the US, and around the globe,” said John Textor, CEO and Chairman of OL Groupe. “With a tradition of winning that is unmatched in the world of women’s football, OL Feminin has a unique opportunity in this growing market to build the Olympique Lyonnais global brand for the benefit of OL Groupe and for our remarkable athletes. Today’s agreement with Michele creates the ideal vehicle to accomplish that objective, securing an exciting future for OL Feminin.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

Michele Kang

Ada Hegerberg Lyon 2022-23

Trinity Rodman USWNT 2023

WHAT NEXT? The news ushers in a new era for both clubs. The present is looking exciting too, with the Washington Spirit currently sitting atop the NWSL table, while Lyon will secure a domestic double if they can beat PSG in a crunch Ligue 1 clash this Sunday. Kang has also assured supporters that both teams will keep their own historical identities under the new ownership model.

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