HB Køge, on the day marking the club’s 10-year anniversary, announces George Altirs, President of international sportswear and team brand Capelli Sport, as the club’s new majority owner.
Per the club’s official announcement, Altirs’ will hold 76 percent ownership of the club through a major financial investment to support club operations, player development and growth.
In addition, through Altirs’ existing investments in the game at both the professional and academy levels, as well as the Capelli Sport partnerships that exist across 25 countries worldwide, HB Køge will become the lead of an integrated, international network that is focused on professional talent development.
Through the brand’s continued growth as a partner for and supplier of innovative sportswear and team wear with designs of the highest quality, latest fabric technology and functionality for world-class performance on the field, Capelli Sport has created an internationally-woven network of player development initiatives that has led to proven opportunities for professional recognition.
Determined to own his own business, Altirs, a father, entrepreneur and devoted supporter of the game, founded GMA Accessories Inc. in New York City in the late 1980s. The company’s focus was on the manufacturing and importing of women’s and children footwear, apparel and fashion accessories.
Today, more than 30 years later, the company holds multiple, long-term licensing agreements with some of largest international brands, expanding outside of the fashion industry.
Throughout the years, Altirs has been supporting the growth of the game in his home country of Lebanon, through the U.S. Soccer Federation and around the world. This support includes the creation of the international youth soccer program and U.S. Soccer Development Academy member club Cedar Stars Academy, in addition to, multisport, state-of-the-art facility developments. However, the contributions really took off when he and his wife, Elisabeth Altirs, co-founded Capelli Sport in 2011.
“HB Køge is a success story for Capelli Sport,” Altirs said. “Through a number of inspiring meetings over the past month, which have been led by Capelli Sport Vice President and HB Køge board member Jason Arnold, we have seen this organization’s strong leadership and strategical planning. This has led to the decision to upgrade our partnership and expand the ownership investment in the club.
We will continue to expand the global initiatives of the clubs and academies within the Capelli Sport network. Our plan is to have HB Køge be a leader for our global activities, led by Per Rud.
Through the continued hard work and dedication of the board, we have great expectations for the future. Nonetheless, we will need the continued support from the city, shareholders, partners and our fans to achieve our goals.”
The partnerships formed through Capelli Sport ultimately led to additional ownership opportunities for Altirs. Of these partners, MSV Duisburg is one of the more exclusive Capelli Sport clients through the brand’s 15 percent stake in the German club, which was the first opportunity for public shares in the team's long-standing history. As one of the original clubs of Germany's premier soccer league, the Bundesliga, MSV Duisburg was established in 1902. Included in their partnership with MSV Duisburg was the completion of a new youth locker room and functional building at MSV Duisburg’s youth talent development center, which was driven through Capelli Sport’s financing plans.
HB Køge was created in 2009 through the merger of Herfølge Boldklub and Køge Boldklub. Since its foundation, HB Køge has made two appearances in the Danish Superliga, the top level of professional play. Through this restructuring, and the involvement of Altirs and the Capelli Sport team, the club is determined to return to the top flight on a consistent basis, while maintaining stability in its operational and financial efforts.
“On the 10-year anniversary of the creation of our club, Capelli Sport and HB Køge have come together to work towards the same goals,” CEO and Sporting Director Per Rud said. “Building teams, developing players based on cohesive criteria, and having highly-educated coaches is our club’s ultimate ambition.
We believe in good, honest work, and we are confident that we will realize the potential of every club and academy within the Capelli Sport network to create a pathway to professional football.
With that said, this partnership is mutually beneficial for everybody involved, and I am very humble and thankful to be put in place to lead this in the coming years.
Together, with coaches and leaders from all over the world connected through the Capelli Sport family, we will continue our growth. I can’t wait to get started.”