January 4 – In what they describe as a “unique partnership”, Leeds United, one of English football’s most iconic clubs striving to return to the top flight from the second-tier Championship, have joined forces with Qatar’s famed Aspire Academy in order to bring about “long term benefits to the club’s on the field performance.”
The common denominator is Ivan Bravo (pictured), a newly appointed Leeds board member who heads up Aspire which was founded in 2004 and has links to some of the biggest clubs in Europe and owns Spanish second-division club Cultural Leonesa and Belgian club Eupen.
Bravo said of the Leeds deal: “Both Aspire and Leeds United share ambitious goals for becoming a reference of excellence in football. It is truly motivating to see that by joining efforts both organizations can accelerate their growth on the field, including in the development of elite youth players with potential to represent club and national teams at the highest levels.”
A Leeds statement said Aspire will provide “insight in fields such as academy and youth development, performance analysis and sport science.”
Aspire Academy was originally established to scout and develop the next generation of elite athletes in Qatar, particularly in the years leading up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Leeds United Managing Director Angus Kinnear said of the partnership: “This is an exciting partnership for Leeds United, you only have to look at the quality of the programme and facility in Qatar to realise that having access to the Aspire Academy is going to be beneficial to our long term vision for the club.”
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