August 1 – Inter Milan has launched another of its Inter Academy projects in China, this time in Hong Kong, taking the number of Chinese academies to seven.
The Hong Kong initiative is the result of a strategic agreement between the club, its owners Suning Sports Group and Man Lap International Sports Group.
David Dai representing Suning, where he is the General Manager of Hong Kong, Shenzhen Regional Management Center and Executive Vice President of South China Territory, marked what he called an “unprecedented moment”, saying: “Taking place in a magical location like Hong Kong, where the Suning Group have been present for eight years. Hong Kong is considered the cultural bridge between the West and the East and is the perfect place for collaboration between Suning and Inter – a Western club with an international spirit but Chinese owners.”
The Hong Kong Inter Academy joins similar academies in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, as well as in Nanjing, in the province of Jiangsu, which is being further expanded. Most recently centres have been opened in Jiangsu and Shenyang in the province of Liaoning.
The new Inter Academy will offer a full development and competitive football pathway, starting with activities aimed at the youngest participants and progressing towards competitive action for the older age groups, including both girls and boys. The programme will take players from Soccer School and Grassroots Level through a training programme that will develop local youngsters into potential Elite Team players.
Initially 200 boys and girls will participate on the centres in Happy Valley and Morse Park. At the same time, links will be established between the Inter Academy network and city schools. Two Inter coaches will be based in Hong Kong to predominantly work with coaches. Inter Academy Hong Kong will be run locally by Louis Liu, who is president of Inter Club Hong Kong, and Chiu Chun Kit, a former Hong Kong Premier League and Hong Kong Chinese national team player, who will be technical director.
Inter Vice President Javier Zanetti, on hand for the launch, said: “Our prime concern is to help strengthen the local footballing culture, sharing our expertise while respecting football rules and international ethics, and training coaches and youngsters in their home country. Building this partnership is a significant step forward in Suning’s work to improve football training and increase awareness, which the group is making a serious effort to promote across the territory while leveraging the professionalism and expertise offered by Inter.”
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