Businessman says he invested $81M in football club

By Duc Dong   November 3, 2023 | 04:05 pm PT
Businessman says he invested $81M in football club
Doan Nguyen Duc (L) in the ceremony to announce the new name of his club Hoang Anh Gia Lai with the partner LPBank on Nov. 2, 2023. Photo by HAGL
Doan Nguyen Duc, owner of domestic football club Hoang Anh Gia Lai, said he has invested about VND2 trillion ($81 million) in football and was glad to have a new sponsor to share financial burden.

In the ceremony on Thursday, HAGL has officially changed its name to LPBank HAGL, after the main business partner of the club. This is the first time HAGL changed its name after its promotion to V. League in 2001.

"The football business is complicated and expensive. After 22 years, I have spent roughly VND2 trillion," Duc said in the ceremony. "I'm 62 years old and I can still manage the club for 10 more years. However, I want the club and the youth academy to last longer than that, so think it's time for change. I have decided to find a partner that has a stable financial capability for the sustainable development of the club and the academy."

Duc, the chairman and founder of real estate and agriculture group Hoang Anh Gia Lai, said the two sides have signed a comprehensive partnership in sports and football. In the future, LPBank might take charge of the club and the academy.

In 2001, Duc began a football business by purchasing Gia Lai FC and changed its name to Hoang Anh Gia Lai. He then spent big on bringing football stars and quality players to the club and that strategy was successful with two league titles in 2002 and 2003.

In 2007, he established the HAGL Arsenal – JMG Football Academy on a five-hectare piece of land that was previously used for harvesting rubber. Since then, he has spent billions of dong each year on the academy. In return, the academy produced a series of talented players that went on to become national football stars like Nguyen Cong Phuong, Nguyen Tuan Anh and Nguyen Van Toan.

During the difficult period, the business direction of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group also changed constantly, with real estate from 2009-2012 period, sugarcane from 2013-2014, cows in 2015-2016 and recently fruit and animal livestock. Even at the most challenging times with burdened trillions of dong in debt, Duc never put the club into a restructuring or divestment plan.

With a new partner, he hopes HAGL will become a formidable club in the near future.

"The club will be even stronger with the new partner. I want to tell coach Kiatisuk that this season is considered a draft, but we must win the championship next season," he said.

Kiatisuk Senamuang became the head coach of HAGL in 2021. After that year's season was canceled due to Covid-19, the 2022 was a lackluster one for HAGL and they even had to join the relegation battle. This season, after two rounds, the club only got one point.

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