Soccer-Mercury 13 group makes first acquisition with Italian club Como Women

(Reuters) - Mercury 13, a women's football multi-club ownership group, unveiled their first portfolio team on Monday after acquiring a controlling stake in Como Women from Italy's Serie A.

The group, led by Victoire Cogevina Reynal and Mario Malave, last year announced plans to invest $100 million in acquiring women's soccer clubs in Europe and Latin America.

Mercury 13 say they aim to transform Como into one of Europe's foremost clubs and provide a nurturing environment for players to flourish in their careers, on and off the pitch.

"Through innovative partnerships with forward looking sponsors, we are determined to transform Como Women into a symbol of empowerment and celebration of women in Italy and beyond," Cogevina Reynal said in a statement.

"Through football we are confident we can become a paradigm of success and an important example of what happens when society gives women the place and the opportunities they deserve."

Como have been involved in women's football since 1997, and a new club was formed in 2020 when they were unable to register for the Serie B championship, with local businessman Stefano Verga taking over ASD Riozzese, later renamed FC Como Women.

They gained promotion to Serie A in 2022 and last season survived in the top flight, the first season of professionalism in Italian women's football.

Como finished seventh in the first phase of this season, where they compete against many teams owned by established Serie A men's clubs such as Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, AS Roma and Fiorentina.

Verga will remain as club president and shareholder, alongside existing owners, while Cogevina Reynal and Malave will join the club's board of directors.

"For years, I've dreamed of this club having what it truly deserves," Verga said. "Since I met Victoire and Mario I've been fascinated by their vision and the determination they have to transform women's football.

"It has brought me great joy and pride that a group with the calibre of talent of Mercury 13 has chosen us as their first investment."

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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