ACA Football Partners Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, CEO: Hiroyuki Ono, hereinafter ACAFP) is delighted to announce that it has reached an agreement to join Global Football Partners (GFP), the new ownership group of English League 1 club Charlton Athletic. ACAFP will be one of seven minority shareholders in the London-based former Premier League club, and CEO Hiroyuki Ono will join the Board of GFP alongside other experienced football club owners.
The acquisition of a stake in Charlton Athletic is Stage three of the ACAFP project since it launched in July 2021 to form a multi-club ownership model from Asia. First ACAFP bought Belgian 2nd division club KMSK Deinze in February 2022, and then Juventud Torremolinos CF, a Spanish fifth division club, in February 2023.
Having a solid base in Belgium and Spain, ACAFP has been building its borderless network and developing projects globally by collaborating with clubs from Asia such as PVF Football Academy (Vietnam), Albirex Niigata Singapore (Singapore), and Imabari FC (Japan), to provide opportunities especially for promising young players from these geographies.
The signing of 18 year-old Indonesian international Marselino Ferdinan to KMSK Deinze, is an example of this strategy: giving an opportunity for a young player from East Asia to develop his career in Europe from an early age, and then bringing the value of those experiences back to his national team. The Indonesian national team won the gold medal after 32 years at the SEA Games in 2023.
Gaining a place in the world-leading English football market is a major milestone for ACAFP. Charlton is a historic, central London club established in 1905. After a lengthy stay in the Premier League, the club has had a less successful last decade at first team level, but its youth academy has remained one of the leading such institutions in the UK, providing a stream of major international players. It is envisaged that by Charlton becoming part of the ACAFP family, further opportunities for the development of Charlton youngsters will open up, through access to the Belgian and Spanish leagues. Meanwhile, in reverse, players from ACAFP’s system will have a clear opportunity to move to the English leagues, if they are suitably proficient.
Work is already underway between ACAFP executives and the prospective Charlton Athletic management team to share Scouting networks, data systems and coaching structures/ techniques. Likewise, on the media side discussions are occurring about the sharing of audio-visual and other content through ACAFP’s OTT platform Playsia TV and Charlton TV.
Comment from Charlie Methven, Global Football Partners BoD
We at GFP are delighted to welcome ACA as a partner in our project. The two main challenges of modern football clubs are the increasingly global search for talent and the growth of a worldwide digital audience to complement the local fans who attend the stadium. After many months of detailed discussions with Hiro Ono and his executives, our Senior Management Team felt that ACA would be a perfect strategic fit in helping GFP achieve its objectives for Charlton Athletic in these two critical areas. We look forward to working intensely with ACA to make the partnership work for both parties and to create success across all our clubs.
Comment from Hiroyuki Ono, ACAFP CEO
We are very pleased to be a part of the club which is composed of a rich history and passionate fans, and I would like to show my deep gratitude to Charlie Methven and Jim Rodwell, who welcomed us to the group. You may be skeptical about who we are and what strategies we have. Over the past year, we have focused on connecting Asia and Europe with football through the multi-club ownership model, but we are also aiming for releasing the value of sports and create a borderless community. Our door is always open, we want to learn a lot from England, the home of football, and also to expand Charlton’s appeal more globally.