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LaLiga Boosts Internationalisation by Exporting the Best of Its Grassroots Football to India and Global Markets

LaLiga has begun 2023 by reaching a milestone with LaLiga Grassroots, the initiative under which it brings together the know-how, experience and projects to promote grassroots football all over the world. The project has developed more than 640 permanent and temporary projects in 48 countries including India. The programs are administered by more than 900 youth football coaches, selected by LaLiga based on UEFA Pro licensed certifications, national and international experience, and values in line with LaLiga. Along with the development of more than 200,000 international players of various ages and levels, LaLiga has also educated 22,000 local coaches within their operations.

In India, The LaLiga Football Schools (LLFS) project that was initiated in 2018 in partnership with ‘India On Track’ has grown its impact to 10,000+ students in the country. The program is developed and administered by UEFA pro-licensed coaches from Spain and continues to provide local talent an access to global football methodology and technical training for students aged between 9 to 15 years. Furthermore, the program also develops football coaches and administrators, through international exchange of knowledge. This in turn helps in the holistic development of the players in line with LaLiga methodology encompassing 4 key areas: Tactical-cognitive, technical-coordinative, physical-conditional, and psycho-socio-affective.

Recently announcing the new LLFS ‘Development Program’, LLFS will continue to broaden the scope of its operation in India providing elite Under 13 & Under 15 players with advance training and competitive game time in the MDFA 2nd Division League and other official competitions. Along with the setting up of a ‘Goalkeeper School’, the commencement of the ‘West India Cup’ & a roadmap to set up India’s first ‘Development Centre’ the vision continues to be facilitators for growth of Indian talent.

Through frameworks that allow for sharing of knowledge, LaLiga has facilitated collaborations with Deportivo Alaves, Cádiz CF, Sevilla FC & Villareal CF with local Indian clubs &centers; Allowing an avenue to share training methodology & best in class practices with local grassroots facilitators.

Speaking about LaLiga’s commitment to Indian Football development, Miguel Casal, Technical Director, LaLiga Football Schools India, said, “The LaLiga belief in the power of grassroots football to develop young talent is deeply rooted into the LLFS India project. Our commitment to Indian football is unwavering, and we are proud to play our part in awakening this country’s potential as a dominant player on the world stage. As we continue to work closely with our partners, India On Track, we are confident in our methodology and are pleased with the visible growth we see in our project.”

Jose Antonio Cachaza, LaLiga India Managing Director, added “The growth and results the LaLiga Grassroots initiative has achieved on a global platform has been phenomenal. Our performance & ranking in the European region amongst the top leagues in world football is a testament to the superior methodology LaLiga has developed. In India, through the LLFS project, it is this same methodology that is in play as we continue to develop the beautiful game in the country. Completing 5 years of the LLFS project in India this year, we continue to build to better enable talent across the country to achieve their football potential.”

In Europe, LaLiga teams dominate the rankings of the best youth academies in Europe put together by prestigious institutions such as the CIES Football Observatory – the leading organization for bringing together European football data. Athletic Club, FC Barcelona, RC Celta, RCD Espanyol de Barcelona, CA Osasuna, Real Sociedad, and Valencia CF all feature in the Top 15 teams of the five big European leagues that gave the most playing time to home-grown players during the 2021/22 season, with an exclusively Spanish podium made up of Athletic Club, Real Sociedad, and RC Celta. Atlético de Madrid, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Valencia CF also feature in this season’s top 15 most productive youth academies among the five major European leagues.

Within the five big European leagues, LaLiga leads the rankings by some margin: during the first half of the current season, youth players had played 15.8% of the minutes in the competition, compared to 12.4% in Ligue 1, 11.8% in the Premier League, and some way back, 7.1% in the Bundesliga and 5.5% in Serie A, making LaLiga the leading example of grassroots football in Europe.

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