Arsenal FC opts for football development over branding exercise in India


As one of the biggest brands in world football, Arsenal Football Club is right up there with some of the most successful clubs in English football history. Their style of play on the field has earned them millions of supporters globally. Famous for their “attacking philosophy”, the club has established a high standard of football around the world. To bring this philosophy to India, sports development firm India On Track has partnered with the club and introduced the IOT – Arsenal Soccer Schools initiative.

‘The idea of India on Track (IOT) was born from the love the founding members had for sport, any and all sport. We truly believe India can be a land of champions. But like all champions, sport champs need self-belief and focus. IOT has been set up to instill these core ideas in the youth of our country through sports,’ is how Vivek Sethia, CEO of India on Track introduced what his company does.

Speaking about the association with Arsenal he said, ‘We are committed to identifying and nurturing talent in every corner of India, and we do this through our grassroots development programmes. The IOT - Arsenal Soccer Schools is one such initiative in the field of football grassroots development. We have partnered with Arsenal FC to provide best-in-class, age appropriate training in safe and quality facilities.’

The curriculum for this programme is designed by the global technical head of the Arsenal Soccer Schools’ in association with the IOT technical expert in India. The programme is executed through a trained team of Arsenal coaches who are highly qualified. Coaches are all licensed UEFA A, UEFA B or equivalent of the country they represent. A foreign coach heads each centre and he along with his team of Arsenal trained local coaches teach the students how to ‘Play the Arsenal Way.’

Speaking about the breadth of the IOT-Arsenal Soccer School network, Delhi-NCR currently boasts of four fully functioning centres with three more centres coming up in the next one month. Mumbai already has one centre running with three more on the horizon. Additionally, IOT has conducted programmes in various cities in the South of India and are in the process of setting up full time centres in Coimbatore, Chennai and Kochi by June of this year. Work on a first development centre in Gurgaon has begun.

With other clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City keen on engaging Indians, it is not surprising to see Arsenal also throw its hat into the ring. After all, India is a big market for football and through its Soccer Schools, the club wants to tap into the vast pool of talent in the country.

Instead of going with a regulation branding exercise, they have opted to help develop the sport in the country. It is a wise move from the club and one that will leave a lasting impact. Young footballers in India, who are enrolling to these schools, will surely learn the ‘Arsenal Way’ through the platform.

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