Indonesia giants Persija Jakarta links up with Korean champs Jeonbuk
Indonesia Liga 1 side Persija Jakarta have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with newly-crowned K-League champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
The agreement was confirmed on Monday by Persija's Chief Commercial Officer Andhika Suksmana and Jeonbuk President Seung Gwon-baek at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium in South Korea.
The MoU covers various potential areas of cooperation between the two clubs, and there will be a particular focus on the development of young players.
The announcement comes as Indonesia football raises it profile in the region, with the likes of former Premier League stars Michael Essien (Persib Bandung) and Peter Odemwingie (Madura United) signing with Liga 1 clubs.
"Persija is very serious about developing young players, so we are working in various fields with Jeonbuk Hyundai," Andhika said.
"The development of young players will continue all the way to senior level and we will also plan friendlies between the teams."
Representatives of Jeonbuk had previously visited Indonesia to learn more about the club's youth teams and they were present at the Liga 1 home game with Persipura Jayapura on July 8.
There is certainly much that the Indonesian side can learn from Jeonbuk. The Koreans have been K-League champions five times in the last eight years, and they have also claimed two AFC Champions League titles.
Persija sit in sixth place in Liga 1, seven points behind the three-way tie for first place between Bali United, PSM Makassar and Bhayangkara United.
The Kemayoran Tigers have not been Indonesian champions since 2001. They will hope that this step will improve the professionalism of the club and help them to learn some of the strategies for success that have helped Jeonbuk become the dominant force in Korean football.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK