The collaboration between the two clubs will be in effect until June 30, 2023.

Indian Super League outfit FC Goa have entered into a three-year long strategic partnership with Bundesliga club RB Leipzig, the club announced on Thursday. Youth development is deemed to be the primary focus of the collaboration, as RB Leipzig’s academy will conduct workshops in the coastal state. The two clubs look forward to launch a nationwide football camps program, as they proceed towards exchanging ideas and making footballing knowledge more accessible.

FC Goa President and Co-Owner Akshay Tandon participated in the digital launch of the partnership with RB Leipzig CEO Olivier Mintzlaff. “It (the coalition) has an extremely precise vision. I can say that after speaking to Olivier and his team. They know exactly what they are doing and the amount of professionalism, the amount of clout, the way in which they conduct business. All of this is ultimately about being able to technically provide the knowledge, support and pathway that we need for building up Indian footballers for the global level,” Tandon said.

Several Indian clubs have joined hands with European counterparts in alliances that cater to multiple aspects. Tandon was asked about the difference in the association of FC Goa with RB Leipzig, with respect to other such collaborations that have unfolded in recent times. The Gaurs’ chief pointed out that other partnerships are mostly concerned with facilitating licensing deals, unlike this one.

“Over here, both clubs are investing equally in a specific plan that has a specific agenda of mapping out and developing young Indian footballers through online camps and eventually offline camps. It’s also about extending each other’s knowledge of how that pathway can be bettered for the future,” Tandon stated.

“We are thankful that we are not having conversations over how much we need to be paying for licensing a brand of another club or something like that. Whereas, we are talking about having an equal partnership and cooperation, where both parties are investing their resources, time and energy into helping young Indian footballers grow,” he further added.

On the other hand, Mintzlaff seemed eager to tap into the Indian market and build the German club’s brand in the populous country. He further mentioned that they have not fixed any decisive goals that are to be achieved through this initiative, but will be looking to benefit from a relatively early entry into the Indian football circuit.

“The Indian football market is very fast-growing and football is becoming more and more important there. Even though over there the Premier League and ISL are ahead of the Bundesliga (in terms of Indian viewership), we can see that interest in the German Bundesliga is growing. This was a market that was more interesting to us than other markets. We had such good conversations that we were introduced by the Indian ambassador in Berlin and those talks led to the fact that we didn’t want to cooperate with anyone, but we wanted to have a cooperation partner that is open to our path and has a similar understanding,” Mintzlaff elaborated.

“We also communicated to FC Goa that we wanted to have football camps and we wanted to have a market entrance that may also provide us other opportunities. Without having specific goals today, without having business plans for 2024, because we need to find out how the topics are received. For us at RB Leipzig and German Bundesliga, every club needs to take responsibility and this is the right step to us,” he added,

Tandon sounded optimistic over the results that the collaboration between FC Goa and RB Leipzig can present eventually. He pointed to a recent anecdote that made him believe so. “We have an example from several months ago, when Clifford Miranda, the assistant coach to the first-team was in Germany in RB Leipzig, completing his Pro License, obviously because of support from RB Leipzig. That’s not a kind of experience you will see any aspiring Indian coach will be able to get, obviously without the support that we have from them,” the FC Goa President noted.

“Its things like this, that was already fluid and happening without any contracts being signed. You can see that we are already talking the same language, willing to support their understanding of the Indian market and they are willing to support our technical ambitions.”

Oliver Mintzlaff also pondered upon the thought of young Indian footballers possibly shifting abroad and representing the German outfit in the future. “We assume that if there’s a country with lot of enthusiasm for football and that has more than 1.4 billion people, there are of course great talents that can play amazingly in all the great leagues of the world. Of course, we always have in the back of our head that with this early market entrance, close cooperation with FC Goa, you can get a much clearer picture of the talents that exist that can be trained at a very early age,” the RB Leipzig CEO quipped.

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