Khaldoon Al Mubarak: "I don't see a difference between the men's game and the women's game."
Photo: Manchester City

MANCHESTER—Manchester City CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak has expressed his support for the women's game as a whole and has spoken about the owners' future plans for the women's team at Manchester City.

He believes that over the next few decades, it will be crucial for everybody involved in the business of football to invest in the game as a whole, not just the men's game.

"I don't see a difference between the men's game and the women's game," he said. "I think that our approach in terms of the strategy to invest, strategy to grow that game is consistent.

"It is really the same strategy copied and pasted from the men's game and the women's game because we see it in almost the same way exactly."

A leader in the English game

The women's team have been a key focus since the CFG took over Manchester City, with the formation of a professional team in 2014 named as a women's club, not ladies, a sign of the intent from the outset.

To maximise development, Khaldoon believes that a consistent approach between all teams under the club's umbrella is key.

He added: "We start from a consistency in terms of a philosophy. We fully believe and have bought into the women's game and the women's game becoming an important part of football. 

"Manchester City has been a leader in women's English football, we've been consistent -- always in that top echelon -- we've been well-run, well-managed, well-coached, we've had great players throughout the years. 

"We've had a steady evolution and a trajectory upwards and that evolution, in the same way that I talk about the men's team, is about learning, it is about evolving, it's about improving and it's about being consistent.

"Winning leagues, not one-offs, every year being there. This year we were there. We were there until the last game. That consistency is what I'm most proud of.

"I'm proud of this team, I'm proud of the coaching staff, the playing staff and that strategy that's evolving and will continue to evolve in the same way I think every other team will in the group."

Will invest in what is needed

The departures of Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle will undoubtedly need to be filled, and when asked about what the club will do in the transfer window, the chairman said that the club will do what is needed to be the best in England.

"We will do what this team needs in terms of investing in the right way, bringing in the right talent, the right continuous support infrastructure that helps our women's team to be the best team in this country and to be the best team in Europe," he said. "We will do what we have to do."

For three seasons starting from 2021/22 onwards, the Women's Super League will have a new TV deal which will see games shown on Sky Sports and BBC's free-to-air channels.

It is the first time that the rights to the WSL have been sold as a standalone package, and the groundbreaking deal is something that Al Mubarak regards as "very important".

"[The new broadcast deal] is quite critical," he continued. "I think this is a very important step. Always, I think the commercially of any league depends on the size of the TV rights.

"I think this new deal sends the right signal that there is strong demand, that this sport is growing and that there is an appreciation, a fan following that's growing that's going to help fuel the growth of this sport."

The increase of investment in the women's game has been clear in recent years. Manchester United have formed a team, transfer records have been broken and countless others have taken previously unofficial women's sides under the same umbrella and given them the necessary resources.

Khaldoon wants the blues' women's team to be at the forefront of the global game for decades to come: "We're committed to this game, not just at Manchester City but at every club we [the City Football Group] own, all around the world. I think there's a belief that this is a game that is going to grow, that we have a commitment to the communities that we are involved in.

"Above all, in the business of football, it's not just the men's game but it's going to be the women's game too in the next 10, 20 years. We're going to be at the forefront of that."