India is an emerging market for foreign players, but while most clubs rely on select agents and have no access to many willing players, foreigners who are keen to ply their trade here struggle without good contacts.
Now, all that could possibly change with former Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler, 36, launching 11TransFAIR, an app that is designed to make it easier for professional footballers to find new clubs, and for clubs to find the right players.
“For Indian clubs, it is difficult to know which players from Europe would be open to a move to India”, said Adler, speaking exclusively to TOI. “Until now, this made it difficult for them to sign player from a lot of high-quality markets. When we spoke to some players and asked them which leagues, they would want to try, India was on their radar. There are high-quality players available for (Indian) clubs.”
The app was launched in June this year to obtain feedback from clubs and players. It is now open to Indian clubs with one Indian Super League (ISL) club already registered.
Rene Adler. (Getty Images)
Other ISL and I-League clubs are in discussion to join the platform.
So just how does the app work?
“You can call us the matchmaker,” said co-founder Daniel Schollmeyer. “If a club, for example, needs a striker in a particular age-group, they can go on to the app and register their interest, along with the kind of striker they are looking out for, the salary they can pay. Does the club need a tall and physical striker, someone good with dribbling, or a proven goal scorer? When done, there is an algorithm that will match the club’s search with performance parameters.”
Once the club sees a list of players that fit their search, they can make a “shoot” or offer, and reach out to the player directly.
Players can create their profiles for free on the app.
Based on the data, the player will receive offers about vacant positions on the global transfer market that are relevant to him. If there’s a perfect match, the player, or his representative, can then contact the club directly. If the deal goes through, a three percent fee – in line with what FIFA prescribes – is paid to the app developers.
In the first three weeks, there were about 1,500 registrations, some of them amateurs who tried to register as Lionel Messi!
“We work only with verified profiles of international professional football players. You have to be sure that when its cross border, you speak to the right player,” said Adler.
Among the clubs, there are 30 from Germany alone, four from the United States, a first from India and clubs from the English Premier League, Australia and others in Asia.
“We have 71 matches at the moment (from approximately 200 registered players). The clubs are speaking (to the players), quite of a lot of them in advanced talks. The January transfer window will see moves happening,” said Daniel.
The idea of developing the app was born about a decade ago when Adler, then with Bayer 04 Leverkusen, picked up a knee injury and was sidelined for quite some time.
Leverkusen signed Bernd Leno on loan from VfB Stuttgart as a stop-gap arrangement. But when the young goalkeeper did well, it was time for Adler to look elsewhere.
“Adler needed to move on, but there was no platform to get an overview of the international market. It was really difficult to get some sort of feeling about potential opportunities abroad. That was when the idea for such a product was born,” said Daniel.
Adler wondered why players were not allowed to take the driver’s seat and get an overview of the opportunities that are available to them.
“A lot of things happen in the background, behind closed doors and there is no transparency (during transfers). There’s lack of contacts, and lack of efficiency. So, we wanted to put everything together in this app,” said the former goalkeeper.
Adler moved from Leverkusen to Hamburger SV (2012-2017) and ended his career with Mainz 05, never having the opportunity to play outside Germany. With 11TransFAIR, he could have gone places.