Bayern Munich Academy to come up in West Bengal

November 12th, 2008 - 11:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Bayern MunichKolkata, Nov 12 (IANS) German soccer giant FC Bayern Munich Wednesday announced that its first soccer academy away from home would come up in West Bengal’s Burdwan district.Club chairman and soccer legend Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the main attraction at the announcement programme, sold a dream as he said: “May be, in future, you may see an Indian footballer developed in Burdwan play as a professional in Munich.”

Added Rummenigge, a member of the European championship winning squad in 1980: “We will provide you with the best football education. We will take coaches from here to Munich and educate them on modern football and show them how professional football is run.

“We want India to play the World Cup. For that, we want most of the Eurpoean teams to focus on Asia, particularly India.”

Rummenigge has played in the finals of two World Cups in 1982 and 1986.

However, Bayern would only provide technical support for the project christened “Bengal -FC Bayern Munich Football Academy”, and have not made any financial commitments, said state Industries Minister Nirupam Sen, who belongs to Burdwan district.

The academy, spread over 23 acres, is being set up on the Sports Authority of India campus in Burdwan, around 100 km from here. It would be a collaborative venture between Techno India, a leading knowledge management group, and Burdwan District Sports Association.

The residential academy would have a composite structure, including a stadium with a sitting capacity of 5,000, five training grounds, apartments for coaches, an administrative building and an academic institution for the trainees.

“Bayern will help in preparing the grounds, spotting talent, training of coaches and laying the blueprint of the programme. We will have to bear the cost of all these activities to be undertaken by the German club. They will be associated with the academy for five years,” Sen said.

Two of the grounds will have artificial grass, and the others natural grass.

“The grounds will be such that the players can train 365 days a year. Four of the grounds will have floodlight arrangements,” said Martin Hagele, Bayern’s director of international affairs.

Boys in the age group of seven to nine years would be recruited from various parts of the state for the academy.

“We will also have a programme for the mental and psychological training of the boys,” Rummenigge said.

“We are not coming here for quick profit. We decided on West Bengal after a series of meetings and after we were convinced that we have chosen the right partners,” he said.

The idea of an academy involving Bayern in Burdwan evolved during the German side’s visit here in May to play an exhibition match with Mohun Bagan.

Before the match, which was also the last competitive outing for legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, Bayern officials visited the proposed site and suggested several changes in the infrastructure.

Recalling the match, which saw 125,000 spectators at the Salt Lake stadium bidding adieu to Kahn, 53-year-old Rummmenigge said: “That’s one of the reasons we chose this part of the world for our academy”.

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