ALMOST SIX months ago, on the morning of the day Ronaldo went past Gerd Mueller as the World Cup’s highest goalgetter, the Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) expressed their interest in India at a slick presentation for the Indian media in Dortmund.
On Monday, four days after identifying India, USA and China as areas of focus at their general assembly meeting in Duesseldorf, they took that forward. Three officials from the DFL, who run the first and second divisions of the 36-team Bundesliga, including chief operating officer Holger Hieronymus made a presentation in New Delhi pitching for a first-ever cooperation agreement with the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Also present Joerg Daubitzer, commercial director of the DFL, a separate entity from the German football federation (DFB) formed five years ago, and new business development officer Erik Lorenz. Expected on Tuesday is a former commercial director of 1860 Munich who is scheduled to talk about how Bundesliga clubs are structured.
Both Daubitzer and Lorenz were present in Dortmund where Lorenz had mentioned talking to ‘those who market the sport in India’. According to Arunava Chaudhuri, official adviser to DFL on India matters, the DFL is keen to support the Vision India programme. Incidentally, Brendan Menton, the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Director, National Associations and Clubs, attended the meeting at the Football Bhavan in Dwarka.
“The DFL would like Indian club officials to see and learn first-hand how Bundesliga clubs are run along with things like how matchday programmes are organised. Youth advancement programmes where young Indian players can be interns with Bundesliga clubs, holding coaching clinics in India and eventually organising exchange trips between Indian and German clubs too are on the agenda,” Chaudhuri said.
Once an agreement is firmed up with the AIFF, the DFL, who like all major European leagues are seeking to enter new markets, will present a report to the Bundesliga clubs and help coordinate between those interested and the AIFF whose case was presented by General-Secretary Alberto Colaco.
Later, the Germans met federation President Priyaranjan Dasmunshi at his office. If at all Indian football gets a German touch, it is still some time away. But, maybe, a beginning has been made.