Kolkata,November 12, 2008:German giants Bayern Munich will set up their first football academy outside Germany, and West Bengal will have the honour of being their partner. Bayern president and former German soccer star, Karl Heinz Rummenigge was in Kolkata on Wednesday to announce the plan of a football academy that would be set up in Burdwan with technical support from the giants of club football in Europe.
The Burdwan District Sports Association would enter into an agreement with Bayern and Techno India (a knowledge management group) for the proposed academy.Rummenigge said that Bayern chose India and West Bengal as a partner for such a venture as they were looking into long-term relationships and were not in Kolkata only to make money.
"Our philosophy is different from other clubs of Europe who go into Asia for making money. Our slogan is to create friends and have long-lasting commitments. The way we saw Oliver Kahn being felicitated here when he played in farewell match in Kolkata also showed us how people of West Bengal loved football," he said.
While Rummenigge will fly back on Wednesday night, his colleague from Bayern, Martin Hegele, will travel to Burdwan on Thursday to see the proposed site. Hegele told India Today: "We are here as we wanted to work with serious people and your minister Nirupam Sen is one such man." Burdwan is Sen's home town and he, along with sports minister, Subhas Chakraborty, pledged support for the academy.
Hegele explained that apart from providing technical support to build up the academy, which will include the construction of artificial and natural football pitches, training of coaches and players, there will be exchange programmes and age-group tournaments to enhance the talents available in West Bengal and also across India.
The academy will have a stadium and five football fields, two of which will have artificial turf. Four fields will be floodlit, so that the students can practise at any hour.Rummenigge expressed hope that one day a player from the Burdwan academy will play in the professional football circuit in Europe and added that he did not think it was impossible for a passionate country like India to finally play in the FIFA World Cup.