These heavyweights have made strides in the Indian football ecosystem in various ways.
Indian football is growing, albeit at a snail’s pace. The potential in the Indian market is immense due to the large population and the love for the sport. Indians follow football with passion and play the game with the determination to improve. Some clubs from Europe have recognized this and have taken steps to get involved.
The following clubs have stepped into the Indian football ecosystem with an eye to improving the level of the sport and expanding their own brand. There has been a growing involvement by the stakeholders abroad, whether it is through a partnership with domestic clubs or investment in them.
Indian football can benefit from these partnerships and European clubs would enjoy a bigger presence thanks to their efforts. It’s potentially a win-win situation and is very promising for the next generation of players in India.
Here is a look at the five European clubs who have various degrees of involvements in Indian football:
Borussia Dortmund – Hyderabad FC
Germany’s Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund signed a partnership with Indian Super League club Hyderabad FC in 2020. The partnership is for a duration of two years, with the scope to extend until 2025 by mutual consent. The deal involves Dortmund helping the Nizams in terms of coach education and the enhancement of the academy.
This is a sensible step by BVB, who are expanding their network in other Asian nations too. In return, HFC will benefit from the partnership and have established themselves as a hub of upcoming Indian talent.
FC Basel – Chennai City
FC Basel became the first European club to buy a stake in Indian football club Chennai City FC back in February 2019. The Swiss outfit bought a minority stake in the I-League outfit and invested around €20m.
CCFC owner Rohit Ramesh insisted that the capital would be invested in the youth setup and infrastructure. The partnership with the Indian outfit involved the setting up of a youth academy in Tamil Nadu and soccer schools across the region.
Rangers FC – Bengaluru FC
Scottish Premiership champions Rangers FC and ISL outfit Bengaluru FC forged a technical partnership back in 2019. The two-year deal can be potentially extended by mutual agreement. The partnership will see Rangers setting up soccer schools and holding training camps in Bengaluru. This would help the Scottish giants increase their presence in an ever-growing market outside of Europe.
The ISL outfit also facilitated the move of Indian women’s national team captain Bala Devi to Rangers. The striker has excelled in Scotland, scoring several goals.
RB Leipzig – FC Goa
German Bundesliga side RB Leipzig forged a strategic partnership with ISL heavyweights FC Goa at the beginning of the 2020/21 season. The deal will last three years running until 2023. Leipzig are a growing club themselves and their partnership with Goa will lead to exciting opportunities for Goan players.
The partnership will enable Leipzig to offer their facilities in order to develop Indian talents and also expand their own brand in the country. The Gaurs will also benefit from RB Leipzig’s technical expertise in youth development and talent identification.
City Football Group
City Football Group’s acquisition of Mumbai City FC was a landmark event in Indian football. The organization that administers football clubs all over the world bought a 65% stake in the ISL side. The other major clubs under the CFG umbrella comprise Premier League giants Manchester City, New York City in the MLS, Melbourne City in Australia and more.
Thanks to their investment and technical knowhow, the Islanders managed to bring in exceptional players like Hugo Boumos, Mourtada Fall, Bartholomew Ogbeche and more. The takeover was vital to MCFC going on to win their maiden ISL title in 2020/21 and also the regular season, ensuring direct qualification into the AFC Champions League.