Rangers FC is one of the most iconic clubs in Europe but given the fact that they ply their trade in Scotland, they aren’t as famous as some of their other European counterparts. Now though, the SPFL club are eager to change that as they have taken their first steps towards engaging a global audience by tieing up with Bengaluru FC.
Rangers FC have forged a partnership with Indian Football Club Bengaluru FC who are the reigning champions of the Indian Super League(ISL) and this two-year deal is expected to benefit both the clubs – atleast on paper.
The partnership was officially announced last week following which Rangers FC Managing Director Stewart Robertson said(as reported by the official ISL website):
“We’re excited and proud to announce our partnership with reigning Hero Indian Super League champions Bengaluru FC, especially at this time when football in India, a country of 1.3 billion people, is entering a period of unprecedented growth.
“The club’s international strategy is a core-pillar to our growth plans and this partnership opens up Rangers to the vast football community in India and provides a great platform for us to engage with our wider fan base, and the South Asian communities at home here in Scotland,”
🎥 PRESS CONFERENCE: Rangers Managing Director Stewart Robertson and @bengalurufc CEO Mandar Tamhane spoke to the media today after the club announced an exciting new partnership. pic.twitter.com/jFMjjWpwSa
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) September 27, 2019
Benefits of the Rangers FC & Bengaluru FC partnership:
The two-year deal is expected to be the gateway for Rangers FC as they intend to tap the huge footballing base in the Indian subcontinent and here are some of the benefits which are expected to be exchanged between the Scottish outfit and Bengaluru FC.
- Rangers’ academy team will train at the ISL champions’ training centre in Bengaluru.
- The Gers intend to open soccer schools in Bengaluru.
- The Rangers Legends will play a match with the Bengaluru FC players in the near future.
- The Indian youngsters who come up through the ranks at the ISL clubs might also get trails with the Ibrox outfit.
Why have Rangers tied up with BFC?
The Teddy Bears aren’t the first club who have looked towards India with a desire to tap into the Asian football market.
India is a land of more than a billion people and despite popular belief, the country has one of the biggest supporter bases in the world with clubs like Chelsea, Man United and Liverpool having massive backings there.
And following in the footsteps of these powerhouses, a number of the so-called small European side have also tried to get a piece of the pie.
Clubs like FC Midtjylland, Wolves, FC Basel, Sheffield United, the City Football Group, Atletico Madrid, FC Basel have all tried or are trying to tie up with some of the big footballing clubs in the ISL.
Rangers have obviously understood that the ISL is set to become the next big thing in the world of football and like the other European clubs they too want to set up a base before things start getting crowded.
Will the Rangers-Bengaluru FC partnership succeed?
No, not atleast in the short run.
Bengaluru FC is no doubt of the best-managed football clubs in India but everything outside the club’s doors is utter chaos. And the first major problem for Rangers will be to get past the bureaucracy and the utter mess of the Indian football scenario.
The others who have tried to set their foundations in India have either failed and given up or are currently struggling to keep pace with the lethargy and disinterest from the concerned officials.
Also, one major factor why the big names have been struggling to get fans on board is because most of these ISL clubs have been conjured out of thin air during the current decade.
So while these clubs do have the capacity to fill up stadiums, they necessarily do not have die-hard and religious fans – something clubs like Rangers FC and every other big club takes pride in. Also, most of these ISL clubs do not have crazy fans who follow their clubs in each and every away match and the ones who do are yet to be included in the I-League(read Mohun Bagan and East Bengal).
But saving said that though, Rangers FC might have hit a sweet spot since Bengaluru FC have a very passionate supporter base despite it being a relatively new club.
So the Scottish outfit have a massive advantage over their other rivals but in all frankness, a two-year is nothing but a pessimistic approach which is more like testing the waters rather than taking a deep dive.