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Arsenal FC to launch soccer schools in China

By Matthew Campelli    30 Nov 2015
Arsenal will send club coaches to China to deliver sessions at selected schools

Arsenal Football Club (AFC) has committed to opening soccer schools in at least five Chinese cities as part of a “long-term deal” to drive the nation’s grassroots football.

The Premier League club has signed an agreement with Chinese sports and cultural development organisation iRENA to launch the schools throughout 2016.

Shanghai and Chongquing will be the first cities to benefit from the facilities, with an additional three unspecified locations due to receive schools later next year. Approximately 300 children will be able to attend each school.

Arsenal Soccer Schools will offer sessions led by coaches trained by the club, ensuring that pupils are “trained in the Arsenal way”. Additionally, club coaches will travel to China to deliver sessions at selected schools each year.

iRENA will promote the schools with sponsorship campaigns, including access to players and legends, digital and social media promotions and tours of Arsenal’s training ground facility.

Arsenal chief commercial officer, Vinai Venkatesham, said the club was “ really looking forward to developing the game in China”.

“Football in China is growing more and more popular and the government is particularly committed to encouraging youngsters to play,” added iRENA’s chief executive, Mr Hong GAO.

The move follows an agreement made between the UK and Chinese governments which will see the two countries establish youth training camps, exchange programmes for young footballers, plus provide coaches and referees training to stimulate grassroots football in China.

The deal also marks the latest relationship forged between AFC and a Chinese company after the former inked a global partnership deal with smartphone manufacturer Huawei in January 2014.

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