A Borussia Dortmund story in the making for Indian football

Borussia Dortmund officials revealed that the club had made contact with Bengaluru FC, FC Goa and other I-League clubs in search of a sustainable partnership.

Max-Jannis Foerster, Senior Manager BVB Asia-Pacific, Carsten Cramer, BVB Chief Marketing Officer and Suresh Letchmanan, Managing Director BVB Asia-Pacific, in Mumbai on Wednesday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

After finishing fourth in the Bundesliga and successfully securing a Champions League spot, German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund is now ready to lay the foundation blocks to magnify its presence in India. 

“I'm very impressed with India's passion towards football and Dortmund is attracted by the craze for the sport here. Wherever people are passionate about football, there is space for the Dortmund story. We are thinking about a variety of options and will soon define a long-term sustainable program on how to connect the Indian football community with the Dortmund football community,” revealed Dortmund's chief marketing officer, Carsten Cramer, in an exclusive interview with Sportstar.

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Cramer was accompanied by Dortmund's Asia-Pacific managing director, Suresh Letchmanan, who noted that the club is looking to bring it's bottom-to-top youth-oriented approach to India. “The plan to establish a presence in India has been on the cards for the last 2-3 years. We are well-known for the success of our youth development programme and we want to export that philosophy to India,” he said. 

“There are many kids who are interested in football and we want to help them develop to the next level. We will try to bring them to train in Germany, while our coaches can come here as well. We have the ability to provide a sustainable system for development and we want to see how that progresses to the next stage,” he continued. 

Letchmanan also added that Dortmund would look to educate coaches as well. “We will be happy to even develop coaches and offer them a coach-to-coach education. We will work with them about not just what happens on the pitch but aspects off the field such as nutrition and psychology as well. These are things we have done in Germany and want to bring to India,” he noted.  

Meetings with Indian clubs

Cramer revealed that he had met with representatives from a few Indian clubs, including the likes of Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, and a couple of I-League teams. “It might be a more sustainable partnership if we do something with an established Indian club, which could be an I-league club or even a state federation,” he said.

“It doesn't make sense to sell a licence to some agency to get as much money as possible in the short term. It's not the fee for using BVB logo that interests us, it's the number of the people that we can reach. This is something we take into consideration and a roadmap will be finalised by the end of this year,” he added.  

Commenting on tie-ups between foreign and Indian clubs that have failed in the past, Cramer noted, “If you take the first step, you have to think of the second, third and fourth step well in advance, you cannot just rush into the market. We have observed the Indian market and our approach will be a different one. We will try to be authentic and hopefully, that will help us avoid failures.” 

“Its a bit of a fairy tale for a club like us, which were almost bankrupt 15 years ago, to now be talking about stepping into the Indian market. I am deeply influenced and attracted by the Indian football scenario and I’m sure this won't be my last visit to India,” concluded Cramer.