Martin Bain, CEO - FSDL (L) with Donata Hopfen, CEO - DFL

The DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga, organising body of Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), the organiser of the Indian Super League (ISL).

Given the different parameters and opportunities that stem from Europe and India, both parties aim to gain valuable insights into the respective sporting cultures of the two regions. The MoU therefore focuses on several areas of collaboration, possible club initiatives and exchange of experiences around fan engagement, as well as a strong focus on leveraging the latest technology and innovation. The first knowledge-sharing workshop took place in Frankfurt, Germany, stated a press release on September 19.

Regarding the development of fan engagement in India, alongside football events and experiential marketing activities, the ultimate goal is to raise awareness and find new ways to grow a passionate but largely untapped fanbase. Another key area is eFootball, with DFL and FSDL working together in the development of a structure and commercial model for the eISL.

DFL CEO Donata Hopfen said: “India represents an exciting emerging market thanks to the already rapidly-expanding interest in football and the active participation among society in recent years, making football the second largest sport within the country. Therefore, and due to its world-renowned passion for sports, India already plays – and will continue to play – a significant role in the context of the Bundesliga’s international efforts in the years to come. Jointly exploring avenues of collaboration and working closely with the ISL our trusted partner will not only benefit Indian and German professional football, but more importantly will be another important step as we support the growth of the world’s favourite sport globally.”

FSDL spokesperson said: “We are always looking at partnerships that will help with the holistic growth of the Indian football and bringing best practises from global leagues for Indian clubs to learn from. The DFL has been a strong partner to FSDL over the years and this partnership has continued to evolve with a focus on how to give fans the best experience to Indian football. We hope this partnership will benefit Indian football and its passionate fans.”

Football in India continues to grow in popularity, and German football has already forged close relations with key Indian football stakeholders in recent years. Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig have established club partnerships with many ISL clubs, while the German Football Association (DFB) also has an MoU in place with the All-India Football Federation (AIFF).

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