A-League side Melbourne Heart has "been formally rebranded" as Melbourne City and will wear a white and blue home kit next season, according to Iain Strachan of GOAL. The club was bought out in January by the City Group, which also controls Man City, and will launch Major League Soccer franchise N.Y. City FC in '15. The City Group's attempts to change its new club's home shirts to match the sky blue of the Manchester and N.Y. franchises "was blocked by Football Federation Australia after objections were lodged by Sydney FC" (GOAL, 6/5). In London, David Kent reported the announcement came from City Football Group CEO Ferran Soriano, accompanied by a new club badge that "prominently adds sky blue to its previous red and white colour scheme." Soriano said on the club's website, ''Following a lengthy consultation with the club's members, partners, the FFA and a range of other stakeholders, we believe the changes announced today will strengthen the club's ties with the community to which it belongs while expanding its ability to grow commercially and harness the many benefits of belonging to the City family'' (DAILY MAIL, 6/5).
GUEST PLAYER: In Sydney, Dominic Bossi reported Melbourne City signed Spain's all-time leading goalscorer, David Villa, to a 10-game stint as a guest player. It is the signing of Villa, "who rivals Alessandro del Piero as the best player ever to play in Australia, that has captured the imagination of the public." Melbourne City "will now turn their attention to filling the foreign marquee position and two other visa-player spots and will benefit from a salary cap loop-hole in their hunt" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/5).