ISL and I-League Clubs, Their Tie-ups With Foreign Sides

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In the past few decades, Indian football clubs of the Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League have manifested advancement in their performance. Many Indian football clubs have tie-ups with foreign clubs sharing their expertise. We will have a look at all those clubs and know about their tie-ups with the foreign teams.

East Bengal and Leicester City

East Bengal and Leicester City’s partnership is the earliest major tie-up between a European football club and an Indian football club. The Kolkata based club tied up with the Foxes in the year 2002-03 as part of Leicester’s Asian Community Outreach Programme in England.

The Red and Gold traveled to England to take part in a four-team competition. Portugal’s Maritimo and Spain’s Real Mallorca joined the competition at the Walkers Stadium. Two clubs signed a three-year deal but after Leicester City relegated from the top division the agreement was terminated mutually.

JCT FC and Wolverhampton:

The former National Football League champions JCT FC entered into a tie-up with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2007. The Wolves have just won the English Championship at that time.

After the signing of the deal, a team from Wolves visited the club to observe their youth system and organized a coaching session. As a part of the deal, the Indian club visited England. Unfortunately, JCT FC was dissolved in the year 2011 and so was the deal.

Dempo and FC Midtjylland:

The five times NFL / I-League Champions Dempo SC entered into a partnership with FC Midtjylland in the year 2011. The Goa-based club invested $ 12 Millon and acquired a 34% stake in the Danish Club. In return, the Danish club agreed to provide technical support to the Indian club. However, it was a highly ambitious deal as an Indian club had invested in a foreign club for the first and only time.

DSK Shivajians and Liverpool:

The Pune based team entered into an agreement with the English football Giants Liverpool in the year 2013. Both clubs in partnership launched a full-time coaching academy, named the LFC International Football Academy DSK.

According to the deal, Liverpool’s youth system coach were to visit the academy and train the youth players of the DSK Shivajians. Academy cadets were often sent to  Liverpool’s youth system to get training with them. Chennaiyin FC’s Lallianzuala Chhangte and Odisha’s Jerry Mawihmingthanga graduated from the academy. However, the deal was terminated after DSK faced financial issues.

ATK and Atletico Madrid:

A Kolkata-based franchise was created in the inaugural season of the Indian Super League, and the La Liga giants Atletico Madrid held 25% shares in the club. The Spanish side did not invest in the club preferably they provided technical assistance to the club and helped in squad building. ATK also visited Madrid for pre-session training in Los Rojiblancos’ facilities. The partnership was adjourned in the year 2016 ISL season as Atletico Madrid ended their association with the club. 

Hyderabad FC and Borussia Dortmund:

Hyderabad FC entered into a two-year partnership deal with the Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund. There is also an option to extend the contract until 2025.

Borussia Dortmund will help to build and support Hyderabad with its academy structure and coaching education. The partnership will also include BVB’s expertise in technology to drive innovation; enhance connectivity between the clubs, and positively grow and expand its fan base. The deal saw Nizams become the fourth such partner of the Bundesliga side.

Delhi Dynamos and Feyenoord:

Delhi Dynamos had entered into a partnership with Dutch football giants Feyenoord. As a part of the deal, few players along with the coach came to Delhi. Unfortunately, after the inaugural season, the partnership was terminated.

FC Pune City and Fiorentina:

FC Pune City were the third team to enter into a partnership in the maiden season of the ISL. They signed a deal with Serie A side Fiorentina. According to the deal, the club sent reputed foreign players to play for the Indian side. The Pune based team also visited them and conducted pre-session training with them.

Mumbai City and City Football Group:

Indian Super League side Mumbai City forged a partnership with City Football Group. The CFG acquired a 65% share in the Mumbai-based club. The Islanders became the eighth club to join the City Group.

Chennai City and FC Basel:

In the year 2019 Chennai City inscribed into a strategic alliance with Swiss football club FC Basel. The Europen side acquired 25% shares of the club. The Chennai-based club along with FC Basel’s expertise invested heavily in the youth system of the club and completely changed the forms. The club is also planning to establish a state-of-the-art academy in Coimbatore soon.

FC Goa and RB Leipzig

Before the onset of the ISL season 2020-21, FC Goa entered into a strategic partnership with Bundesliga giants RB Leipzig. According to the partnership, young Indian players will be training with them and mastering their skills at the German club’s facility. Due to the pandemic situation, the Goa-based club will be receiving online correspondence. RB Leipzig to provide on-site training for the young players and exchange of youth development expertise.

Bengaluru FC and Rangers FC:

Bengaluru FC signed a two-year partnership deal with Scottish Premier League giants Rangers FC in 2019. In order to grow the International audience the Scottish pen down the deal with the Blues. As a part of the deal, Bengaluru had facilitated the move of Indian Women’s national team player Bala Devi to the Light Blues in 2020. Bala had joined the club on an 18-month contract.

FC Bengaluru United and Sevilla

The I-League second division club FC Bengaluru inked a deal with La Liga giants Sevilla. The deal will see Sevilla expand and strengthen its presence in the Indian market. And in return, they will be helping the Indian Side with their expertise.

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