Why Rivers State went into new partnership with Real Madrid for football Academy

The Rivers State sports commissioner, Boma Iyaye has explained that there is a difference between their football academy in conjunction with Real Madrid Football Club and the existing Football School of Excellence in the state.

With the recent announcement that the agreed academy in partnership with Real Madrid will be sited within the premises of the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Iyaye noted that it will not be a duplication of functions considering that the state is already building a Football School of Excellence at Etche.

The football academy is completely different from the Football School of Excellence as this one is affiliated directly to Real Madrid.

The standards are not the same. Madrid is giving us their standard. You want to affiliate with us, we give you our standards which are different from that of the Football College,” Iyaye said.

The Football College was conceived many years ago, but this is purely Madrid style and we cannot toy with it.”

The newly inaugurated sports commissioner also explained that Real Madrid gave some conditions as regards the siting of the academy.

They insisted it must be in the City. We actually took them to Etche where the Football College was being built but it did not meet their standards.

We went to Greater Port Harcourt where land was provided and it still did not meet their standards. So we finally got two sites within the premises of the Yakubu Gowon Stadium which they accepted and the academy will be built there,” Iyaye said.

According to the commissioner, the consultants from Spain want the academy located in the heart of the city.

They say they want it in the heart of the city, a walking distance from people’s homes. They do not want parents and children traveling long distances just to play football.
Boma Iyaye

We have surveyed the land and are working on the final agreement with the Real Madrid consultants and when that is done, work will start earnestly.”

The idea of the Academy is to build and train the next generation of footballers the right way.

It is an opportunity for us to groom footballers from a young age so when they get into professional football, they would have all the rudiments of football training.

These are the things we have planned for the next six months to one year and I must tell you, the governor is very passionate about this project because it involves kids,” the commissioner said.

The football academy that will be established by the Rivers State government is in conjunction with the Real Madrid Foundation Campus Experience which is affiliated to the Football Club.

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