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A New Era: Palermo to City Football Group

It is a new era at Palermo.

Today, Palermo held a press conference where the sale of the club to City Football Group was announced to the world. City Football Group CEO Ferran Soriano and others from the holding company were in Palermo alongside President Dario Mirri to talk about the club and its future. Here is the full transcript of that press conference:

Palermo President Dario Mirri:

“Welcome to City Group. I’m proud, happy and emotional. I completed the wish that I had three years ago, I did everything that I could. Now I’m proud to place Palermo in the best hands possible. City Group is the best, not just for the economic aspects, but they’ll be able to give us a better organization. They can give us a solid future – which is what matters most to me. We know how it will end, it will end well. Now, a new era begins, with additional skills and knowledge. The city must seize this opportunity. My successor is the future that Palermo deserves.”


City Group CEO Ferran Soriano confirmed that they acquired 80% of the shares of Palermo while 20% remains with Dario Mirri (the actual percentage is 19.75% with the remaining 0.75% belonging to a Rosanero supporters group collective):

“Dario did a great job. He will be the President of Palermo.”


Palermo President Dario Mirri talked about the sports complex and the stadium:

“[The sports complex] was and will be the decisive asset for the development of the club. We’re working with City Group to analyze the Torretta project. In the next few weeks we’ll decide how to proceed. It seems to me that everything is going very well, clearly there is no immediate decision today. It is a project nearing a conclusion, with a decision coming soon. The Barbera is our home and our history. It’s in need of a few fixes but the conditions are good, they can become better and excellent if the mayor and region find an agreement and give us a path forward. Together with the help of City Group, we can think about a project set for the medium/long term.”


City Group CEO Ferran Soriano:

“I’m here to represent City Football Group and we are honored, happy and proud to be here with you. We know about the history of Palermo and its importance to the city. For us, it’s a fantastic opportunity. From our point of view, Dario’s work is impressive. What he has done from Serie D forward is incredible. We’re here to help do more and make next season of this journey our dream: to go to Serie A is our ambitious goal for the next few years, working hard step by step. We’ve brought two clubs to A [Girona & Troyes]. With this mindset, we arrive here, but also with humility. We know that Serie B is difficult and it’ll be a question of passion, but work and patience are needed.”

“Serie A? We would never have done this project without Dario. We met & we know the club is in good hands. He will be the president. We are here to help from the financial point of view but not just that, technologically as well. 80% City Football Group & 20% for Dario. We know that humility is important. We are football people and we know the difficulties. In the meantime, we need to consolidate in B, but we want to to go to A. We can’t go any faster than that. For sure, we cannot do something unsustainable otherwise the result will not come. With Troyes & Girona, we were able to do it in the first year, but we know that it’s difficult. The fans will see work, a lot of work. 100% of our capabilities. The same technology that we utilize at Manchester City will come to Palermo, but obviously that’s not a guarantee of success. We work in a certain way, also from a marketing point of view. Results will arrive.”


City Group CEO Ferran Soriano and Palermo President Dario Mirri at the press conference announcing the new owners.


City Group CEO Ferran Soriano on how the deal came to be and the strategies they’ll use:

“The engagement with Dario came before the playoff and the promotion. Obviously, it was impressive to see the fans in the playoff but that was already known. Palermo is a big club. Palermo will be different than Girona & Troyes. Palermo football is different and the Rosanero history is singular. Today, Palermo is part of a family that will help it seeing as it’s different than other clubs. Interests? Only football.”

“Technology to apply at Palermo? All of it. There’s no difference between Palermo, Melbourne & New York. However it takes time & investment. Palermo needs a better training center than it has. It’ll be of the same level as those we have elsewhere. The youth sector is fundamental for us, in all of our clubs. It will be that way at Palermo too. We’ll give young players the opportunity to grow in football. When we have the right training center and the right methodology, the boys will arrive in Palermo and then go on to Belgium or the United States where our group offers various possibilities. It’s a priority for us.”

“We arrived today. The Board will need more time but I think something will come out in the next few days. Giovanni Gardini? He helped City with the acquisition and works for us to this day.”


City Group CEO Ferran Soriano on the sports complex and the stadium:

“From an investment point of view, we see the need for a sports center. How, where and when I’ll leave to the President [Mirri]. The standard will be the same. When we talk about City Football Group, we are not just talking about Manchester City. We have done sports centers everywhere and we have experience in doing so. We have a group in our facility that does just that. I don’t know how many fields there will be but we’ll see in the coming weeks.”

“I must say that we still don’t have an opinion on the stadium, but it will be fundamental. The stadium is fantastic. The National team plays there. There isn’t much to do but it definitely has to be full. Our job will be to convince the Palermitani to come to the stadium. We need passion to make the club grow.”

Dario Mirri added, “The stadium is our church and it needs some fixes but it’s in good condition. It can become excellent if a plan is enacted.”


City Group CEO Ferran Soriano on the transfer market, friendlies and Pep Guardiola:

“Budget for the transfer market? Obviously, there is one but I don’t want to give out this number because there is work to be done. Surely, we want to be stable in B in order to go to A. Europe? We all have a dream and we must bring the fans with us. Communication and honesty will be needed. This is our ambition but we’re humble. We all dream. There’s the possibility to bring players from other clubs [owned by City Football Group] to Palermo.”

“Possible Palermo friendlies with our other clubs? These are ideas on our table. We have had clubs that went to training in Manchester. Being part of this family, the possibilities are endless. We’ll see what the squad needs later on.”

“I saw the Palermo matches against Padova and suffered a little bit [like the fans]. I spoke with Pep Guardiola and he asked me if there is sunshine in Palermo. I told him yes and responded, ‘Then I can come to work there one day.’ Guardiola knows everything we do and knows Italian calcio. We are all thrilled. In City Football Group we have 12 clubs. Every weekend we have opportunities for happiness or sadness. Now, Palermo matches will be seen by many people around the world.”


City Group CEO Ferran Soriano and President Dario Mirri concluded the press conference on a couple of topics regarding how they met, the season ticket campaign and the branding/logo potential:

Mirri: “Today, I have the happiness of having completed a journey. Promotions can be fleeting joys, but I’m much happier for the future of Palermo.”

Soriano: “We spoke with Mirri several times and we met in London. When people are good people, you can see it quickly.” 

Mirri: “Season ticket campaign? It’s the first appointment of the new era Palermo launched to the city: we need the fans. We expect to show it with facts. The campaign begins Wednesday.”

Soriano: “Regarding the brand, I must say that we have total respect for the Palermo history and I don’t see why [the logo] should change. But we want to bring this brand everywhere. There are Rosanero fans in New York too.”