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Leeds United secure Chinese academy link

Lourdes Sports Development sign deal with Leeds

Leeds United v Everton - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Leeds United have continued their overseas outreach and branding partnerships, as the club has announced an Official Youth Coaching and Developing Partner with Chinese Academy Lourdes Sports Development.

Leeds already have a partnership agreement with the Aspire Academy in Qatar, and have an informal “feeder club” agreement with Cultural Leonesa in Spain who are owned by the Aspire Academy.

Given the ties to Asia by Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani, an expansion into China isn’t that surprising. This foothold in China will surely pay off dividends on both the sporting and commercial side for Leeds.

The press release from Leeds said that coaches from the UK will be going over to China and that Leeds branding would appear in the Lourdes centers throughout the Guangdong Providence. The club said that:

The partnership will see two youth coaching courses setup to support the development of school children in China and will be led by Leeds United coaches from the UK who will travel to China to oversee the coaching programme and the Leeds United brand will appear on the coaching centres located in Guangdong Province.

The coaching programmes are the first within China, which the club hope to develop and expand upon in the future.

This new agreement also includes geo-targeted advertising for Lourdes Sports Development on the club’s revolutionary Hybrid Digital LED advertising system at Elland Road.

China is one of the biggest economies in the world, and Guangdong, where Lourdes Sports Development are located, is home to over a 100 million people, twice the population of England. Turning even a small percentage of these Chinese football fans into Leeds fans would do wonders for the commercial income of the club.

The Director of the Lourdes Sports Development, Chris Chan, told the club’s official website:

Football is an ever growing industry, a universal language bringing people together from all walks of life.

Lourdes Sports Development intend to use the beautiful game as a tool to improve education, raise health awareness and build life-skills through sport.

Leeds United are a massive football club steeped in history with an incredibly passionate and dedicated fan base, so embarking on this partnership was a no brainer.

Our vision is simple, we believe that through sport we can provide young people with the tools to help build confidence, life skills and knowledge to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

The future is bright and we are excited to be ‘Marching on Together’ with Leeds United.

While this won’t necessarily provide dividends right away for the club, the expansion of efforts overseas is an investment in the future of Leeds United. With FFP rules coming to haunt other Championship clubs as they spend money they can’t afford, expanding the commercial income of the club is critical in order to compete with clubs with parachute payments. Here’s hoping this partnership is fruitful.