Youth policy pays dividends for the Bundesliga

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Youth policy pays dividends for the Bundesliga

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With broadcasting rights sales on the up, global chart-topping match attendances and the lure of playing against some of football’s biggest and rising stars, the Bundesliga is experiencing somewhat of a boom.

And many believe it is down to the massive investment in the league’s youth academies.

With more than 700 million euros pumped into youth work over the last decade German football is now cashing in as these programmes have gradually fed Bundesliga clubs with more than half of their squad members.

Sports Director of the German FA Robin Dutt says: “I think the main reason is that, in 2000, Bundesliga clubs were asked to create centres for trainees and the clubs are doing outstanding work with a very good technical and tactical education. The results were first visible at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The clubs followed suit over the past few years with their professional teams.’‘

Four years later at the World Cup in South African Germany fielded its youngest squad in 76 years en route to a third place finish.

Nineteen of that 23-man squad went through the academy system and German football’s governing body believes that encouraging the young at grass roots level is key to future success.

Christine Lehmann of the German FA said: “Our area is our clubs across Germany. Every professional player once started in a small club, every one of them. And that’s where the basis is for football.”

On a club level the German model has paid dividends but will it pay off in Brazil next year when the national side will look end their 24-year World cup title drought. Only time will tell.