Leeds United today announced a formal partnership with the Aspire Academy in Qatar.
| #LUFC have officially joined forces with the @Aspire_Academy in a unique partnership which aims to provide long term benefits to the club’s on the field performance— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 3, 2018
Read more ➡️ https://t.co/Y0GVKpPUCD pic.twitter.com/cH6DYRMHdn
From the club’s official website:
The Aspire Academy is headed up by Leeds United Board Member Ivan Bravo who said: “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”
Leeds United Managing Director Angus Kinnear added: “This is an exciting partnership for Leeds United, you only have to look at the quality of the program 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.
“We also now join a network of clubs which can only help us to develop and grow.”
This is fairly unsurprising news, as the club already has links to the Aspire Academy. Ivan Bravo, who is one of the board members at Leeds, is the head of the Aspire Academy, and the Qatari group is the owner of the Leeds “partner” club Cultural Leonesa in Spain.
Back in June, in one of Andrea Radrizzani’s interviews with the Yorkshire Evening Post, the new Leeds owner spoke about how the youth development program at the Aspire Academy was the best in the world, and how lucky Leeds were to have Bravo on board.
Even the “partnership” agreement with Cultural Leonesa in Spain is because of the links with the Aspire Academy and Ivan Bravo, as the Aspire Academy bought Cultural Leonesa in 2015 when it appeared that the Leon based club was going to go bankrupt. Under their ownership, Cultural has gotten back to the 2nd tier of Spanish football, La Liga 2, for the first time in over 40 years.
Glad the Aspire link up is official. We’ve had Aspire players training and playing in our youth team friendlies for a while unofficially #lufc— @ (@deancore) January 3, 2018
Will this agreement benefit the club?
Well, it can’t hurt. The Aspire Academy is built with state-of-the-art youth development in mind, as (allegedly) one of the reasons it was built was to get Qatar national football team ready for the 2022 World Cup. They’ve poured money into the Academy, and if access to those facilities and training techniques helps Leeds, then it will only benefit the club in the long run.