Aspire Summit kicks off in Amsterdam with focus on ‘higher’ performance

By Samindra Kunti

October 3 – The 2016 Aspire4Sport Congress & Exhibition opened in the Dutch capital Amsterdam today with key stakeholders in the game and performance specialists from clubs and federations around the world gathering at the summit with Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa delivering the keynote speech. 

Aspire4Sport  has established itself as one of the leading congresses in football with its focus on performance. The famed Amsterdam Arena is hosting the event that has previously been held in Berlin and Paris. The summit on ‘Football Performance and Science’ includes session on training load, player position, developing mental strength, injury prevention and technology and research.

Last year, in Berlin, a number of strategic partnerships were announced: a cooperation between the Qatar Football Association, the QFA, and the French FA, the FFF; the 2017 World Legends Cup in Mexico and the Aspire Academy and the ICSS. The late Johan Cruijff warned against too much complacency among players in the modern game

The summit is part of Qatar’s drive to propel itself on to the world stage as a dynamic Gulf nation. The Qatar National Vision 2030 is central to the country’s developments plans and envisions Qatar as a dependable economic player, away from a sole focus on the hydrocarbon industry.

At the Amsterdam Arena, Xaxi Hernandez and Ronald De Boer officially opened the summit in the presence of the deputy mayor of Amsterdam Erik van de Burg, Aspire CEO Mohammad Khalifa Al-Suwaidi, Amsterdam Arena CEO Henk Markerink. Director of football performance and science at Aspire Academy professor Valter Di Salvo welcomed the representatives from clubs and federations, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Ajax, Paris Saint-Germain, FC Internazionale, Manchester United and the Brazilian FA, the CBF.  Di Salvo began with a tribute to Johan Cruyff and Serigne Adbou, a former U20 Qatar international, who passed away at the end of September.

He spoke of going from performance to “higher performance”. Director General of the Aspire Academy Ivan Bravo encouraged the clubs to exchange know-how. “Try to become better,” said Bravo.

Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa delivered  a masterclass on coaching, explaining his methodology, developed over the last 25 years.

Andre Villas-Boas, Carles Puyol, Edwin van der Sar, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Marc Overmars are also on the speaker list over the next two days in Amsterdam.

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