Aspire Academy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Liga BBVA, Spanish football’s premier league, to cooperate closely in exchanging know-how in sporting development. Under the terms of the agreement, Qatar will be positioned as a global football centre.

A planned Under-15 La Liga tournament with the participation of Aspire teams will provide the centrepiece of the partnership, with 12 teams competing at Aspire Academy in Doha during April 2014.

Signed upon the opening ceremony of the Doha Goals Forum in Aspire Academy Dome, the MoU also seeks to form the basis of a longer-term relationship between Aspire Academy and La Liga through the fostering of mentorships between professional footballers and future stars of the game.

Director General of Aspire Academy, Ivan Bravo, said:

We are delighted to be working closely with La Liga in promoting the development of the beautiful game, both here in Qatar and further afield. Liga BBVA is widely recognised as one of the world’s greatest football competitions and, as our Academy students continue their pursuit of excellence, they will undoubtedly be motivated by the example set by some of the game’s most accomplished players. We sincerely hope that this Memorandum of Understanding heralds the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship which contributes to the development of world-class players.’

In response, Javier Tebas, President of La Liga – the Spanish Football Professional League – also commented on the MoU and said:

The Middle East and North Africa region, with over 23 markets, holds over 128 million La Liga fans. Thus, today’s agreement takes us one step closer to our fan-base.’

‘In the past, we have engaged local football leagues, clubs and players through Spanish talent and direct engagement. Now, we want to further strengthen that relationship…Undoubtedly, La Liga has so much to offer to encourage local talent in the region maximise their full potential based on their extreme passion for this game.’

Accompanied by Fernando Sanz Durán, La Liga’s Middle East and North Africa General Director, Tebas held several meetings in the Qatar during their participation at Doha Goals Forum. Such meetings are aimed at eventually seeing the Spanish league further establish precedents in Qatar and the region.

Sanz, a former Real Madrid and Malaga defender, and former owner and president of the Malaga team, indicated that he is here to stay in the Middle East and facilitate exchanges of knowledge, skill sets and technical prowess that La Liga has. Sanz said:

Our plans for the MENA region are long-term…However, in the short-term, we intend to bring events, friendly games, and famous players to share their experiences with local talent and leagues, as well as organize football clinics and road shows. We will be involved with football associations, share our knowledge with the local leagues and provide strategic input and insight into the game here.’

The Under-15 tournament is set to take place between 11 and 14 April 2014. It will feature an array of Spain’s top youth sides together with two teams from Aspire Academy, and showcase the emerging talents of players who will be at the height of their powers when Qatar hosts the FIFA 2022 World Cup finals. By embarking upon a relationship with a league that features the supreme skills of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, widely recognised as the greatest players in the world, Aspire Academy seeks to inspire its students to achieve greatness by working hard to maximise their innate ability.