Ajax and Guangzhou R&F FC signed a 5-year partnership deal on Monday. The top Chinese club aims to develop the best youth academy in China, with Ajax’s help. This agreement’s estimated value is €10 million. Should the agreement continue to be mutually beneficial, both clubs have expressed the intention to extend the contract for 5 additional years.
For this type of partnership, Ajax has established the Ajax Coaching Academy (ACA), and through this organization, aims to share its youth academy expertise worldwide. The club’s goal is to create many similar partnerships in several parts of the world. In the past year, the ACA has developed several programs and projects, and has now earned the responsibility to shape Guangzhou R&F FC’s youth academy in China. All facets of youth development, such as scouting, talent development and the related support departments, are included.
Ed Engelkes technical director
Under the leadership of former Ajax coach Ed Engelkes, who will fill the role of technical director, several Ajax coaches will join, each of whom will have a specific role within the coaching function. They will transmit the club’s philosophy to the Chinese staff and youth players, and will be supported by a team of specialists in Amsterdam.
Trust that partnership will be beneficial
Nicky Wong, Vice President of Guangzhou R&F FC: “Ajax is a club with a rich history, nationally and internationally. They have the best youth academy in the world. We’re a young club, but we share Ajax’s philosophy in terms of the playing style, and in terms of youth development. We trust that this partnership will be very beneficial.”
Van der Sar: 'This partnership is, first and foremost, about football'
General Manager Edwin van der Sar: “It’s good for Ajax to go into this partnership with Guangzhou R&F Football Club. We’ve been active in the Asian market in the past few years, but mainly in the commercial area. This partnership is, first and foremost, about football. Youth development has been very important for Ajax for decades. The fact that we can now share our expertise through this partnership with R&F is good for both clubs. It’s a known fact that, at this point, it’s challenging to grow further in the European football market. Despite this, through the Ajax Coaching Academy, we’re creating opportunities to grow in this area.”
Guangzhou R&F Football Club plays in the Chinese Super League and ended this year in 5th place. The team is coached by Dragan Stojković, who is from Serbia. The club was established in 2011 by Chinese real estate developer R&F.