Dutch soccer giants Ajax have announced a five-year partnership with top-flight Chinese side Guangzhou R&F FC.
The collaboration will see the Ajax Coaching Academy (ACA) help the Chinese Super League (CSL) team develop their youth academy on a global level by providing insight on scouting, talent development and other supporting departments.
According to an official statement on Ajax’s website, the 33-time Eredivisie champions will invest ‘millions of euros’ in Guangzhou’s academy for the duration of the contract, which includes an option for a further five-year renewal if both parties are satisfied with the partnership.
The Ajax coaching team in China will be led by Ed Engelkes as technical director, who will be supported by several other coaches.
“It is good for Ajax to be partnering with Guangzhou R&F Football Club,” said Edwin van der Sar, chief executive of Ajax. “In recent years, we have been quite active in the Asian market. Youth is the core asset of our club and we are delighted that we can leverage our knowledge with an international partner like R&F.
“It is well known that for a club like Ajax it is hard to grow in the current European football industry. With initiatives like ACA we create opportunities to make alternative steps forward.”
Nicky Wong, vice president of Guangzhou R&F FC, added: “Ajax is a club with rich history, honours and owns the best youth academy in the world. We are a young club, but we believe we share a similar philosophy as Ajax, on the way of playing football, on the attitude towards youth development. We really believe in a fruitful partnership.”
Ajax beat Roda 5-1 on Sunday to stay second in the Eredivisie, eight points behind league leaders PSV Eindhoven. They travel to play FC Twente in their next game on 2nd December.