5 ISL sides who entered into partnerships with top European clubs

City Football Group acquired majority stake in Mumbai City in 2019
City Football Group acquired majority stake in Mumbai City in 2019 / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/GettyImages

Football is slowly graining ground in terms of popularity as a sport in India, and a number of top foreign clubs across Europe have in the past and currently looked to take advantage of this fact and take steps to build their brand in the country.

A host of top European clubs have got into partnerships with Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League sides and here we take a look at some of them.

1. East Bengal and Leicester City

English premier football league outfit L
English premier football league outfit L / DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/GettyImages

Leicester City in 2004 became the first Premier League club to enter into a partnership with an Indian side as they signed a three-year deal which would see top Indian players travel to train in England.

East Bengal also took part in a tournament in England but their partnership was mutually terminated after Leicester's relegation from the PL.

2. ATK and Atletico Madrid


Spanish giants, Atletico Madrid entered into a partnership with ATK at the time of the inaugural edition of the ISL - with the LaLiga side owning a 25 percent stake in the club.

Though they did not invest any money, Atletico did help in building the squad and provide technical expertise while also giving ATK the opportunity to visit Madrid during pre-season and conduct training in Los Rojiblancos' facilities.

Despite winning two ISL titles, Atletico ended their partnership with ATK in 2016.

3. Mumbai City FC and City Football Group


The City Football Group (CFG) acquired a 65 per cent stake in Mumbai City FC in 2019, thereby making the Islanders become become the eighth football club to fall under the CFG umbrella, along with Premier League champions Manchester City, New York City in MLS, Australia's Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Club Atletico Torque of Uruguay, Girona in Spain and Sichuan Jiuniu in China.

4. Hyderabad FC and Borussia Dortmund

India v Bahrain - AFC Asian Cup Group A
India v Bahrain - AFC Asian Cup Group A / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Bundesliga giants, Borussia Dortmund entered into a two-year partnership with Hyderabad FC in 2020, with an option to extend the deal for additional years up to 2025.

As per the official statement, Dortmund would focus on building and supporting Hyderabad FC on its academy structure as well as guiding their coaches on coaching education.

5. FC Goa and RB Leipzig


Bundesliga side, RB Leipzig in 2020 entered into a strategic partnership with FC Goa for 'youth development' that will run until 2023.

The aim of the three-year deal was to establish and run football training camps for youngsters, starting with the state of Goa and then gradually expand across the country.

In the future, Leipzig is expected to offer support with on-site training that will involve the exchange of know-how regarding youth development.