A common thread between Dortmund, Villarreal C.F and Celtic F.C is that they all have partnerships with football clubs in Australia – which provide benefits to both the local and international organisations.
There are different types of partnerships in football, such as the sponsorship type partnerships which see sportswear companies become the official apparel partner of a club.
Then there are the academy and football development partnerships, something that many Australian organisations have been taking advantage of. Partnerships with well-known leagues and clubs from overseas are becoming increasingly common.
The University of Canberra and La Liga’s education department, the La Liga Business School announced a collaboration agreement last week – with the intention to professionalise the local sports industry.
The ‘Beyond 2020: Professional Football Strategy – A discussion with La Liga’ webinar was the first event help through the partnership and was attended by many industry professionals including Capital Football CEO Phil Brown and Villarreal C.F. Business Development Manager, Mar Llaneza.
During the event LaLiga’s delegate in Australia and New Zealand, Glen Rolls spoke about La Liga’s international strategy and how the league is also looking to share its knowledge whilst also learning from the Australian football industry.
“We certainly look forward to developing more programs to help … professionalise the industry moving forward,” he said.
Professionalisation of the sports industry is clearly a focus for La Liga, the Director of LaLiga Business School, Jose Moya also referred to it in his statement upon the announcement of the partnership with the University of Canberra.
“This agreement reaffirms the commitment of our organization to professionalise the sports sector and, in line with our slogan, it’s not football, it’s LaLiga, this positions us at the forefront of the industry, not only in terms of sports but also in educational standards,” he said.
La Liga is not the only Spanish football organisation that is bringing its knowledge and expertise to Australian football. In November, La Liga club Villareal C.F expanded its presence in Australia with a Sydney academy.
The new academy sits alongside its Melbourne academy Monash Villarreal, formerly Monash City FC.
Another example of the advantages provided by a partnership is Sydney FC’s partnership with Dutch club, AFC Ajax.
Ajax are known for their expertise in youth development and have been sharing their knowledge with Sydney FC.
Sydney FC’s Technical Director – Youth, Kelly Cross said that the club wanted to learn all it can from arguably the best club in the world.
“As we continue to strive for excellence, it is fantastic to be able to learn from Ajax; we are looking to pick up all we can from a club who are arguably the best club on the planet in terms of bringing young players to an international level,” he said.
“We aim to continue to share knowledge and experience, as well as building the relationship in terms of exposing our players to the Ajax coaches.”
Even the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspurs launched a Player Development Programme in New Zealand late last month. The Hotspurs are partnering with Scots College in Wellington.
Tottenham has two football development partnerships in Australia with the University of Wollongong in New South Wales and Nudgee College in Queensland.
Head of Global Coaching at Tottenham Hotspur, Andy Rogers said that Tottenham Hotspurs coaching has assisted player development at partner organisations.
“We are delighted to deliver our first ever player development programme in New Zealand, working in partnership with Scots College,” he said.
“Our international model has proven successful in the US, Asia and Australia in developing young players through authentic Tottenham Hotspur coaching.”
“We look forward to working closely with young players from the College and local coaches, helping to drive standards of player development in the region.”
These arrangements can also benefit teams off the field. The main focus of Dortmund’s partnership with Indian Super League team Hyderabad FC is coaching and youth development, however Dortmund is also providing assistance with fan-engagement and technology.
“We therefore look forward towards achieving shared successes, both on and off the pitch, as we continue to build nice stories and special experiences for our fans in India and around the region,” BVB APAC Managing Director, Suresh Letchmanan said in a statement regarding the partnership.
Dortmund also has an Australian partnership with NPL club Marconi FC, although this agreement focuses on coach and player development.
The Australian football industry is a lot smaller in comparison to the scale of the industry in some other countries – partnerships in football with major clubs and league can help Australian football grow.