Posted: Thu January 23, 2014 11:44AM; Updated: Thu January 23, 2014 11:44AM

Manchester City buys Australia's Melbourne Heart

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - England Premier League club Manchester City has taken control of struggling A-League club the Melbourne Heart, purchasing its license in partnership with Australian National Rugby League side the Melbourne Storm.

Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop said the new owners will ''assume responsibility for all existing obligations of the Melbourne Heart.'' He described the takeover as a vote of confidence in the future of the A-League.

Gallop said ''Manchester City and their Australian partners have made a strategic investment and I welcome them to our growing competition. It's another sign that the world is taking notice of Australian football.''

''Football has moved into the mainstream of Australian sport and is ideally placed to benefit from the boom in football across Asia,'' Gallop said.

''Manchester City and their partners will being a high level of expertise in football and sports business matters and that can only strengthen the Melbourne Heart and the A-League as a whole.''

The Heart are in last place in the 10-team competition with only one win in 15 matches.

The purchase is the latest instance of Man City extending its worldwide reach. The club partnered with the New York Yankees to purchase New York City FC, an MLS expansion team set to start play in 2015.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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