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Using football to open doors in the business community


Football can play its part, according to Dortmund managing director Carsten Cramer, in promoting and expanding connections between the two countries.


Borussia Dortmund players sign autographs for fans in Hà Nội during their recent visit. — VNA/VNS Photo

Borussia Dortmund Football Club of the German Bundesliga may have lost on the pitch to Việt Nam’s national side when the two teams met in Hà Nội last week.

But they won the hearts and minds of football supporters across the capital city with their transparency, openness and fan interaction during their stay.

And there’s no doubt the team from Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region will return to Việt Nam in the near future.

Their visit came just a few weeks after chancellor Olaf Scholz was in Hà Nội, and discussed at length with top leaders ways Việt Nam and German can not only strengthen their relations, but lift them to a new level, for the benefit of both countries.

The German delegation, which included Secretary of State and Federal Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit and Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Franziska Brantner, met with Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính and Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng.

Germany has been one of the most important European partners of Việt Nam for many years with around 450 companies creating somewhere in the region of 47,000 jobs.

The largest German investments have been implemented by Bosch (automotive), Stada – Pymepharco (medical equipment) and Messer Gases (chemicals).

Football can play its part, according to Dortmund managing director Carsten Cramer, in promoting and expanding connections between the two countries.

The club may not directly manufacture anything here, but their connections are strong, and will grow stronger in the future.

Their kits are made by German sport-goods giant Puma, and they are all manufactured at a factory in Long An Province.

In 2021, according to, a little over 1.2 million shirts were sold by Dortmund, more than both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, and all made in Việt Nam.

Their training gear is also made here.

Cramer said: “A hundred per cent of our shirts, even these ones (training shirts) are produced in Việt Nam.

“So we visited the company just not far away from HCM City in September. And it's high quality. So there is a connection, a business connection between Borussia Dortmund and Việt Nam and Puma as our kit supplier.”

But shirt sales aside, the value of having such a big name in world football keen to build bridges in Việt Nam, can be priceless.

Cramer believes football is a great leveller, an ice-breaker or conversation starter, and a subject that doesn’t have language barriers.

Their shirt sponsor, Evonik, is the second-largest chemicals company in Germany, and one of the largest specialty chemicals companies in the world.

They have also had a presence in Việt Nam for 25 years.

“I'm very sure that football will be able to be not only a door opener for people, but also for business and companies,” the MD said.

“Talk to our main sponsor Evonik. The chairman just told me it is always easier for him to get in contact to local people by talking about football than starting immediately by business purpose.

“Football, as I said at the beginning, is something which connects people. And Dortmund is a club who's able to open hearts. Dortmund is able to attract people and even for business people.

“We just joined a meeting with the German Chamber of Commerce. And it was so easy to get in contact to all the business people by talking about football.”

Fans of the German team may well have loved seeing, and meeting, their heroes during their visit. The yellow and black, colours associated with Dortmund, illuminated not only the Mỹ Đình Stadium on the night of the match, but also outside the hotel where Borussia stayed.

Some fans even admitted to having arrived hours before, as they proudly showed off signed shirts, which of course, were made in Việt Nam.

But this trip, arranged in part to keep those not playing at the World Cup fresh during the break in season, was about much more than just a kick-about.

Dortmund have big plans for Asia, and particularly Việt Nam.

They already have in place a dedicated managing direct for the region, Suresh Letchmanan.

He told Việt Nam News: “That's the difference between us and all the other European clubs. I think for us, sustainability is the key to it.

“And localising it, that's extremely important for us. And we go on the ground we had legends on the ground. We had clinics, programmes, senior management on the ground. We have coaches on the ground.

“It's not just September till November. There has been a cultivation of activities over a period of four years.

“So that has been ongoing and we've built on it. And the main objective was to have the first team here.

“Clubs are coming in, do their gig and go out, and that's not us, that's not authentic for us.”

Source: Vietnam News