Football club OHL and KU Leuven have put their mutual cooperation on paper on Friday. The two partners signed a formal agreement for this at the club’s stadium.
The OHL stadium is literally surrounded by several KU Leuven faculties. Collaboration in certain areas has therefore been done for some time. For example, KU Leuven students have regularly come to do an internship at the football club for several years, infrastructure and technology are shared and students can come and watch matches at attractive rates. The new agreement makes this existing cooperation structural.
The two partners have set up a steering group for this purpose, with about ten people from both KU Leuven and OHL. The group sets out the vision and course of new projects, puts new priorities on the agenda and can propose new forms of cooperation.
The renewed and deepened collaboration is an added value for both parties, says Luc Sels, Rector of KU Leuven. For example, Sels is thinking of deploying engineering students or students of sports medicine, economics or marketing in the club. “With a collaboration between a university and a football club, students of sports sciences or physiotherapy are the most obvious places to build projects around. But engineers or health engineering students can also get their money’s worth: the data that OHL can offer through their players is very interesting for us as a university.”
Peter Willems, CEO of OHL, agrees. “We have a lot of common ground with the university, including in terms of innovation. The expertise of KU Leuven, for example with regard to medical supervision, can help us in our day-to-day operations.”