Lothar Matthäus was in Abu Dhabi on behalf of Bundesliga International. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Eintracht Frankfurt
Lothar Matthäus was in Abu Dhabi on behalf of Bundesliga International. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Eintracht Frankfurt

Bundesliga and Eintracht Frankfurt to pursue long-term interests in Abu Dhabi

Eintracht Frankfurt will continue to vigorously pursue their activities in the United Arab Emirates, further expanding their successful existing relationships with local institutions and businesses. The announcement was made by board member Axel Hellmann during a press conference at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday along with Germany’s most capped player and Bundesliga legend Lothar Matthäus, Eintracht legend and record Bundesliga appearance maker Karl-Heinz ‘Charly’ Körbel, Robert Klein (CEO of Bundesliga International) and Eintracht’s representative in Abu Dhabi, Marcus Ulander.

“We have partnerships here that extend beyond the first team,” said Axel Hellmann, who first travelled to the UAE with Eintracht Frankfurt six years ago. Since then, the first team have come to Abu Dhabi for their winter training camp five years running, representing Bundesliga football internationally in doing so. “As a well-established Bundesliga club, we want to drive our commitment here forward with the help of Bundesliga International and our partner Al Maskari Holding, who support our football academy in working together with our partner Daman to combat childhood obesity. In a sporting sense, there’s a lot we can do here and a lot we can develop. The UAE is a country that holds lots of major sporting events and Abu Dhabi has many economic links to Frankfurt. Our interests here are long-term; we want to make a lasting impact.”

Lothar Matthäus: “I feel at home in Abu Dhabi”

For the Bundesliga International, Abu Dhabi is also “one of the most important regions on earth,” (Hellmann) and an interesting territory. With Bundesliga legend Lothar Matthäus as their representative in the region, the Bundesliga’s interests have been impressively underlined and the benefits of German football explained. “We have full stadiums, very strong teams and international superstars,” said Matthäus. “We attract families to the stadiums and have a young audience. We also have very good youth academies, which are the basis of our success. This was borne out in our World Cup win four years ago, the Confederations Cup win and the Under-21 EURO title. We always produce strong national sides.” Matthäus went on to describe himself as a “proud ambassador” for German football: “I’ve been part of the Bundesliga since 1979. That gives me great pleasure.”

There were also words of praise for the Eagles’ exploits on the pitch this term: “Eintracht are having a great season, I’ve been really surprised. They’ve built a very good team. Maybe the training camps in Abu Dhabi in recent years have also had something to do with that.”

Football academy ensures sustainability

For Hellmann, though, it’s not just the winter training camp that makes a convincing argument for this booming region. Indeed, his focus is on deeper and longer-lasting matters. One aim is to set up a permanent football academy in the region and pass on Germany’s football know-how. “When time permits, we obviously want to come here with the first team,” said Hellmann. “It’s the perfect place to prepare for the second half of the season. We are also able to play friendlies against top-quality opposition here. We want to establish a permanent football academy here. In order to develop things and have a long-term effect, we need partners – and we’ve found them here. Abu Dhabi, like Frankfurt, is a financial hub.”

Körbel praises development in recent years: “People recognise Eintracht Frankfurt”

Karl-Heinz Körbel is currently in Abu Dhabi with his four-man team from the Eintracht Frankfurt football academy. It was the first time he had shared a stage with Lothar Matthäus and, like his fellow record appearance maker, he only had positive things to say: “If someone had told us five years ago that we’d have this sort of success here, I wouldn’t have believed it. We’ve worked with girls’ teams and disabled teams here, which were great experiences. Abu Dhabi has become our second home. Our presence is greater, people recognise Eintracht Frankfurt in Abu Dhabi. But we can still do more.”

The same goes for the Bundesliga, who have been shrewdly increasing their international activities for a number of years and have found a reliable partner in Eintracht. Bundesliga International CEO Robert Klein highlighted the importance of the Bundesliga on the world stage: “The Bundesliga is a global brand that arouses the passions of fans all over the world. We have a wonderful product that we want to take out into the world.”

Source: Eintracht Frankfurt

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