Gateley Plc, the legal business of law-led professional services group Gateley, has advised City Football Group (CFG), the owner of a number of leading football clubs including Manchester City, New York City and Melbourne City, on a strategic 50:50 Joint Venture (JV) with Goals Soccer Centres plc, a leading operator of outdoor small-sided soccer centres with 48 sites, including two in California, USA.

Gateley Plc’s Sports Sector team provided comprehensive legal and commercial advice to CFG on the JV, which will combine Goals’ existing North American operational expertise and site sourcing capability with its footballing, marketing and commercial expertise in order to accelerate the growth of the Goals brand in North America.

The deal will transfer all of Goals’ North American operations, both existing and pipeline sites, to the JV and CFG is providing $16 million of initial expansion capital, which combined with cash flow from the JV will self-finance an ambitious programme of new site openings in North America. It will also permit the use of CFG’s brands, including Manchester City, to drive its North American marketing activity, as well as the use of targeted promotional initiatives across CFG’s networks.

The JV was launched on 25 July at Goals Pomona in Los Angeles by chairman of Goals, Nick Basing, and CEO of CFG, Ferran Soriano, who were joined by a number of players from Manchester City’s first team, including new signing Danilo, as well as Leroy Sane, Yaya Toure and Nicolas Otamendi.

Management of the JV is to be led by a six-member board, chaired by Goals’ chairman, Nick Basing. The Gateley Plc team was led by Corporate partner, Paul Jefferson, working with a team that also included Commercial partner and Head of Sports, John Burns, and Corporate partner, Stephen Roberts.

Corporate partner for Gateley Plc, Paul Jefferson, said: “We are delighted to have advised City Football Group on the deal, which will go a long way to increasing the profile and fire-power of Goals Soccer Centres in North America. These are exciting times for both CFG and Goals, and we wish them the best of luck. We’re looking forward to continuing our strong working relationship with City moving forward.”

Nick Basing, chairman of Goals said: “I am delighted we have concluded our new partnership with City Football Group which will transform the prospects to expand our North American estate.

“This is a transformational agreement for our Company to grow and strengthen the North American business. We are delighted to be partnered with a global leader in soccer and believe the combination will give us significant competitive advantage at a time when the emerging market is in its infancy.”

Ferran Soriano, CEO of CFG said: “This is a very exciting development for our plans in the US and Canada. Soccer is indisputably the world’s number one sport and growing fast in this region. We have an ambitious vision in North America to grow the sport, including our JV with Goals, ownership of New York City FC in MLS and many other initiatives.

“This initiative shows City Football Group’s continuing commitment to soccer in North America. This partnership with an excellent and recognized operator like Goals gives us the best opportunity to succeed.”