By David Owen
November 27 – A new football academy backed by a large Vietnamese conglomerate, and involving Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and other well-known figures from the British game, has been opened near Hanoi, with the aim of helping to push the south-east Asian country up the world rankings.
The so-called PVF Academy will see playing fields, accommodation and other rehabilitation and sports science facilities made available for up to 300 of the 92 million-strong nation’s most talented young footballers.
Vietnam currently lie a lowly 125th in the FIFA men’s rankings, nestled between Malawi and the Central African Republic.
The academy’s goal is to propel the national team to qualification for the centenary World Cup in 2030, when there are likely to be 48 qualifiers. There is even talk of an eventual bid to co-host a World Cup with other ASEAN countries, although this project may well have to wait until after China has had its turn.
As part of a group brought together by Redstrike, a sports marketing agency, and Football Focus Asia, ex-Manchester United and Wales star Giggs will become the academy’s director of football. It is said this will see him visit the establishment “on numerous occasions throughout the year”.
Others involved include former Leeds and Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell and Mike Farnan, former managing director of Manchester United FC International.
The project is backed by VinGroup, a property and tourism conglomerate founded by Vietnamese nationals in Ukraine in 1993 as a food production business called Technocom.
Vietnam were eliminated from 2018 World Cup qualification after finishing third in their group behind Thailand and Iraq.
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