Tuesday, December 7, 2021
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Bundesliga International CEO Robert Klein wishes to see an Indian player in the Bundesliga

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The Bundesliga, like its rivals, is attempting to develop its fan base in India. The German Bundesliga just signed a two-year partnership with Sony Sports Network that will allow all Bundesliga matches to be televised live in India. However, unlike the other top leagues, the Bundesliga aspires to achieve more than just a large fan base and money.

“The ultimate goal is to develop Indian football and fulfill dreams of talented Indian players of playing in top European leagues,” said Bundesliga international CEO Robert Klein.

Subho Paul of India can claim to have gotten the closest to living it, even though it remains a distant dream for the time being. The young Indian attacker was selected for the FC Bayern World Squad as one of 15 players. Paul got the opportunity to practice under top German instructors as part of the team, which was hand-picked by German icon Klaus Augenthaler from all around the world.

Robert Klein dflde 768x432 1
credits – dfl.de

This, however, is only the beginning, as Robert Klein stated during a virtual media conference announcing a partnership with Sony to broadcast Bundesliga matches in India.

Indian players playing in Bundesliga

Klein also discussed the Indian clubs’ and Bundesliga teams’ collaborations and how they will help the sport expand in India.

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He said that: “However, even in the last two 2-3 years, there has been a real step up. The football fans (in India) are wide and large species in the Northeast, Kerala, and in Mumbai, which is becoming a hotbed. So, we need to focus on those areas first and then work together. I think these are exciting times for Indian football.”

The Bundesliga’s ownership structure

The takeover of Newcastle United by a Saudi Arabia-backed consortium has polarised views on the future of club football. Newcastle is now the world’s wealthiest club. Robert Klein was questioned if the Bundesliga should allow wealthy individuals to acquire shares in football clubs.

Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga dominance

The Bundesliga’s seeming lack of competitiveness is one factor that makes it tough to attract new viewers. It is frequently referred to as a one-team league. When told about Bayern’s record-breaking ninth consecutive league title win last season, Klein conceded that this was somewhat true. The last time a team other than Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga was in 20211-12 when Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund won the championship for the second time in a row.

The Bundesliga’s approach to bio-bubbles and limits

Robert Klein also offered a quick overview of how the Bundesliga planned and executed the effective resumption of football following the COVID-19 suspension last year.

He said: “Taking a step back, COVID-19 has had a huge impact around the world. In India, Germany, and across many economies. But, even during these very delicate times, we were the first league back last year on May 16. We made a lot of learnings through that time, as to what regulations need to be put in place. What directives do we give to our production staff, to the teams, and also to the people working around the teams? Now, as the fans return, we have regulations with them also,” Klein sighed.

He also discussed how the clubs ensured that the states’ requirements were followed. This has aided the league in preparing for the return of fans to the stadiums in a variety of ways.

“Germany has a federal-state system. We work very closely with the states to ensure that the local legislation is implemented for the protection of everybody. Therefore, we have been able to learn a lot in the last 15 months,” he said. “We have also shared a lot with other leagues in exchange. I believe that we are in a situation where we have good guidelines to welcome fans. Hopefully, we can fill our stadiums as soon as possible.”

In comparison to other major leagues, where does the Bundesliga stand?

Despite Bayern Munich’s recent success in the UEFA Champions League, the Bundesliga’s development has been relatively steady in comparison to the Premier League or Serie A, which have attracted a large Indian following. Klein explained how research proves the contrary.

“In India, the Premier League has certainly been longer here and is doing a great job. All of the leagues are working in the right direction. Any tie-ups between teams or leagues or any developments or activations done are helping football in general, in India. In terms of Bundesliga, research shows that we are the fastest-growing league,” he noted. “We are the league with the most engagement, which is the most important aspect. We are going to continue on this path.”

Collaboration with Sony

Robert Klein emphasized Bundesliga’s two-year partnership with Sony. He explained how this alliance will benefit both the German and Indian football leagues.

“We have a two-year exclusive deal with Sony for the Indian (subcontinent) market and are delighted to be in partnership with them. We spent a lot of time discussing different potential partners for the upcoming two-year cycle,” Klein continued.

“But and crucially beyond this, we have ambitions. What we mean by that is around the matches, we can do public viewings and the ability to work and bring events on the ground so that we can engage with the Indian sports fans and the Indian football fans. That will help grow the Bundesliga and football in general, in India.”

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