VO2 Capital finalise investment deal to take majority stake in Wakefield AFC
VO2 Capital, a Connecticut-based family office, have finalised a deal to acquire a majority stake in Wakefield AFC.
The new investment will allow Wakefield to expand its football operations, education programs, youth academy, and women's teams.
Effective immediately Guilherme Decca, the chief executive of VO2 Capital, will be appointed as Wakefield AFC's chairman.
In addition, Andre Ikeda, partner at VO2 Capital, will join the WAFC board of directors with Mike Hegarty as WAFC chief execuitive.
Speaking about the deal, Decca said: "Work hard. Be humble. These are principles that have guided my career so far and principles which WAFC will live by.
"While there's enormous potential to gradually develop a football club for the district, we need to put our heads down and build the club right with good infrastructure, academy, and recruitment.
"We don't want to hear any talk about the Football League as we haven't finished one season yet.
"As we've seen in this campaign, our team is young and exciting, but non-league football is hard, and we can't take anything for granted.
"There are great clubs all around us and we need to prove we are deserving on the field."
Regarding the team's goals, he added: "We do believe that a well-run club with fans as shareholders, partnerships with local businesses, no debt, and investment in data and performance analysis can grow fast and, more importantly, in a self-sustainable way.
"This is not another story of foreign investment in English football. I love the sport and respect its history and have been following the English football since Italia 90 and early days of the Premier League.
"It is a dream come true to be involved with English football and we are investing on this project long term to hopefully turn into a club the district is proud of and that can be an asset for the community for decades to come."
As part of the deal, VO2 Capital and Wakefield AFC also agreed to merge its women's football operation with Wakefield Trinity Ladies Football Club.
The club will play the 2021/22 campaign under the name of Wakefield Trinity Ladies, but will be re-branded after the current season.
The ground-breaking agreement will allow women and girls football to continue its expansion in the district by supporting the creation of a female football academy and strengthening partnerships with local schools and other grassroots organisations.
VO2 Capital and Wakefield AFC will also support existing adult and youth teams to build on the impressive achievements so far.
To help achieve these goals, Craig Shepherd, WTLFC chairman, will join the newly formed WAFC advisory board, starting December 1.
He said: "We’ve been liaising for a number of months with Decca and Andre about the direction we wish to travel and our vision for the future.
"It became apparent that they share our desire to provide quality opportunities for females of all ages to play football and to develop a local (Wakefield district) club to be proud of.
"We currently play and train at some superb facilities in Fitzwilliam and we hope to continue to improve our offering in the local surrounding communities for all involved."
Regarding the women's team, Decca said: "It is a great opportunity to merge with a successful organization like WTLFC. We are big supporters of women's football, and its potential is only scratching the surface in this country.
"For the district, we want the new women's section of WAFC to be the place to be not only for girls looking to have a football career but also for young girls that want to develop their skills and enjoy their football from an early age."