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Reign FC negotiates exclusively with OL Groupe to sell club

Olympique Lyonnais has become the most successful women’s soccer club in France and the world.

Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe settles a pass during a playoff game against the N.C. Courage in Cary, N.C. on Oct. 20, 2019. (Mitchell Northam / Pro Soccer USA)

Reign FC has entered into exclusive negotiations for a purchase by OL Groupe, the parent company of Olympique Lyonnais.

The sale would be a blockbuster moment for the Tacoma, Washington-based club and the National Women’s Soccer League. In the French Division 1 Féminine, OL Groupe has built the most successful women’s soccer club in the world, winning 13 consecutive domestic league titles and six UEFA Women’s Champions League titles.

Reign FC majority owners Teresa and Bill Predmore would keep a minority stake in the club. Bill Predmore would continue to serve as CEO of Reign FC. OL Groupe will also absorb the Reign Academy, with Teresa Predmore continuing to serve as the Academy’s president after the transaction.

The purchase is expected to be completed before Jan. 31, according to a statement released Monday by Reign FC.

“Our ambition has always been to operate the best women’s football club in the world,” Bill Predmore said. “This is a distinction long held by OL, making them the perfect organization to help us achieve our long-term objectives for the club.”

The Hanauer Family and Tacoma Soccer Ventures — two investors who backed the club in conjunction with its move to Tacoma this year — will relinquish their ownership positions with Reign FC following the completion of this sale. The team would continue to play its home matches at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.

Reign FC will also continue to partner with Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders and Minor League Baseball team the Tacoma Rainiers as it works to build a soccer-specific stadium for Reign FC in Tacoma.

Reign FC’s announcement comes on the heels of a record-setting seventh season for the NWSL. With the league expanding to welcome new teams and integrate new compensation rules, Reign FC leadership sees this move as another step toward increased investment into the women’s game in the United States.

“Growing the club, the league and the sport demands increased investment in our facilities, our staff, our players and the league,” Predmore said. “OL has the capacity to make these needed investments, and the knowledge and experience to make those investments in the manner most likely to yield results. We believe the combination of OL’s experience and expertise with our knowledge of the market and league will allow future investments to deliver the optimal impact to the club and to the NWSL.”

The news made a particular impact on midfielder Jess Fishlock, who has played for Reign FC since its inaugural season in 2013 and who won the UEFA Women’s Champions League medal while on loan to OL this year.

“When Bill shared the news, I was stunned, but my mind was immediately racing and dreaming about all the possibilities of what the two clubs could accomplish together,” Fishlock said. “Lyon and Reign are both amazing organizations and I am so proud to have played for both clubs. Bringing the clubs together is for me the perfect combination – I literally can’t think of a better outcome for two clubs who are so dedicated to the growth of the women’s game. I am incredibly excited about what the future holds for both clubs.”

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