OL Groupe denied the reported sale of its Division 1 Féminine club Olympique Lyonnais to Washington Spirit owner Michele Kang but at the same time announced its plans to sell NWSL club OL Reign.
French newspaper L’Equipe kicked off the sequence of events with its report on Kang’s impending acquisition of a 52% stake in Lyon. Per the report, OL Groupe would retain the remaining 48%, as well as its controlling interests in the Lyon men’s team and OL Reign, while Kang would cover Lyon’s annual deficit of nearly €12 million.
Kang acquired ownership of the NWSL’s Spirit last year for $35 million after a contentious battle with former owner Steve Baldwin.
OL Groupe issued a statement later Wednesday referring to L’Equipe’s report as “inaccurate” and denying the sale of Lyon to Kang. But the statement created its own news, announcing that the ownership group “has given a mandate to sell its NWSL franchise to the investment bank of the Raine group.”
While OL Groupe “is happy and proud to have been able to build the new foundations of OL Reign,” its time as controlling owner of the NWSL franchise seems to be nearing its end.