JDT's reach extends into Japan

Reigning AFC Cup champions Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) have announced a partnership with J2.League side Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo.

Having already spread their wings to Europe with their partnership with Borussia Dortmund, the Southern Tigers are now turning to the east after signing a memorandum of understanding with Consadole on Monday.

There will be training sessions and exchanging information to further strengthen ties between Malaysia and Japan

"The partnership involves several matters including working with JDT in terms of academy development, staff and player exchange programmes and having friendly matches," read a statement by JDT.

"There will also be training sessions with the main squad and exchanging information related to football in an effort to further strengthen ties between Malaysia and Japan."

The partnership came about after J.League's international relations department director Shusaku Yamashita and Consadole's general manager Hirokatsu Mikami had a meeting with JDT owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim last month.

The back-to-back Malaysia Super League (MSL) champions already have an agreement with German giants Dortmund in place.

To date, JDT midfielder Gary Steven Robbat trained with Dortmund during his three-month ban by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) over a transfer issue last year.

Dortmund also played JDT in a friendly at Larkin Stadium last July in a trip that also included stops in Japan and Singapore.

The Bundesliga club, which has also developed ties in Thailand in recent weeks, is also understood to be considering a return to Asia in 2017, with any possible destinations still to be determined.

Photo: Johor Darul Ta'zim