New Delhi: FC Barcelona became the second European football club to start its own football school in India after Manchester United.
Xavi Merce, director of FCBEscola, the football school run by the club, made the announcement at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.
FCBEscola Delhi will be the Catalan club’s seventh international school, and will be based out of Heritage School, Delhi. The school will be run in partnership with Conscient Football, a football development initiative by property developer Conscient Group, which also runs the Heritage group of schools.
The school is expected to open for admissions and classes by the end of 2012. FCBEscola started making inroads into India with a series of short football camps for school children from December 2011 covering Delhi and Bangalore.
“These camps over the months have given us a good insight into the level of players and coaches in India,” Marce said, “and also time for us to figure out the administrative and logistical issues we may face.”
The original FCBEscola in Barcelona is widely regarded as one of the best football academies in the world, and has produced players, including the 2011 FIFA player of the year winner Lionel Messi from Argentina, along with his Barcelona team mates Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Pedro, Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique, and Carlos Puyol, all of whom were instrumental in Spain’s World Cup win in 2010.
“We have a succesful structure and methodology,” Marce said, adding that he’s “confident that it will work here as well. Our aim is always on foundational training -- to make sure each child learns all the basics of technique and teamwork.” FCBEscola Delhi will have a capacity for around 300 students between 6 and 14 years of age. The fees, scholarships, and administrative details have not been decided yet.