East Bengal youth Academy set to tie up with Real Madrid
The Indian Super League (ISL) has been at the forefront of the country’s football growth over the past couple of seasons. As the second edition recorded high spectatorship number, the baton has now been passed on to the I-league, which sees a host of new faces.
Despite clubs such as Bharat FC and Royal Wahingdoh dropping out, the league is all set to receive a massive European boost. The East Bengal Academy is all set to tie up with the Real Madrid Academy in order to heighten the state of grassroots football in India.
East Bengal officials have met with Real Madrid Asia-Pacific CEO Luis Fernandes, and agreed upon a technical deal. The details are yet to be disclosed. After two weeks of back and forth, Madrid agreed on specific terms within the association.
Members of the Real Madrid technical team will come to Kolkata to coach trainees in the academy. East Bengal junior team members will also play matches at their Academy, the ‘La Fabrica’. Special training programmes will be set up for the travelling contingent.
A senior East Bengal official said, “After last year’s I-League, we were planning on creating a youth development ecosystem. We had several clubs in mind, especially from the Premier League. However, no deal came through with them. Then we shifted our attention to the La Liga, and Real Madrid eventually agreed to our tie-up.”
Sources close to the Real Madrid Asia-Pacific extension have stated that the deal is based on ‘brand-elevation’. If the deal is not fruitful, the Los Blancos will not think twice before pulling out.
Our source said, “They don’t want to be completely associated to us as they would like to enter the India market with an open mind. They are looking at two week programmes to help the kids. This is also an intrinsic part of our Corporate Social Responsibility.”
The Academy will be launched this Saturday, with the presence of ex-Indian national team footballers such as Baichung Bhutia and IM Vijayan.