A ‘feeder club; in football is a club which is tasked to provide training and experience to young players. This training comes with a formal or even an informal agreement which involves successful players to move on to a much bigger club /higher level and to allow young, foreign players to gain a work permit, or for business purposes, such as merchandising. The bigger club is usually a major level club that is the ‘Parent team’
Clubs, who have agreements with smaller clubs to be their feeder/sister teams, usually send their youth players on loan to gain valuable first team experience there. This form of football ecosystem is a smart, efficient and sustainable way to nurture talents as the parent teams’s players can gain precious experience and the lower level teams can have talented youngsters on their books with whom they can achieve their seasonal objectives.
There are many significant clubs in world football who have tie ups with such other clubs, most famous being the City Football Group whose main team is Manchester City and has stakes in clubs like MLS’s New York City FC, Melbourne City FC, Japanese J1 League club Yokohama F. Marinos, Uruguay’s Montevideo City Torque, Spanish Segunda division club Girona FC, Chinese club Sichuan Jiuniu, ISL’s Mumbai City FC, Belgian club Lommel SK and French club Troyes AC.
Another famous example is Red Bull’s network of football clubs. The Austrian energy drink brand’s primary club is Bundesliga’s RB Leipzig, based in Leipzig, and other clubs such as Austrian Bundesliga’s RB Salzburg, New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Brasil, Red Bull Bragantino and Red Bull Ghana. RB Salzburg has it’s own feeder club, FC Lifering which competes a tier below. All Red Bull club’s train their player’s to play an attacking, attractive style of Football which help’s the player’s integration once they transfer to another Red Bull club.
There are other club’s who have tie up’s like above like recently promoted Premier League club Watford, whose owner businessman Giampaolo Pozzo also owns Granada and Serie A club Udinese and there is constant movement in terms of transfers between the three clubs. Chelsea, a club famed for it’s myriad of talented youth players and criticism for it’s abuse of the loan system which has seen the club loaning an army of players every season has a feeder club relationship with the Dutch Eredivisie club Vitesse Arnhem where Chelsea loans many of its players.