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Visiting delegations impressed with Aspire facilities

Officials from FIFA and China’s Chengdu get a glimpse of the state-of-the-art technology in use at the elite training centre in Doha.
Members Of The Fifa Delegation During Their Visit To The Aspire Academy
Members of the FIFA delegation during their visit to the Aspire Academy. Photo: Aspire Academy

High-level delegations from FIFA and Chengdu Football Association in China were impressed by the facilities on offer as they visited the Aspire Academy on Tuesday.

The team from FIFA’s Digital Transformation and Innovation Division showed huge interest with the state-of-the-art technology that was presented to them in the Football Performance Centre and further explained in a video call with Valter di Salvo, Director of Football Performance & Science at Aspire Academy.

“I am really impressed. I am coming from a strong background in data and artificial intelligence. Besides the impressive facilities that you have here, I was really struck by the way you are using data and technology,” said Carlo Torniai, Director Strategy, Planning and Digital Ventures House at FIFA.

Torniai mentioned the importance that digital transformation and innovation are going to have for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “The aim is to make a very technology driven event that serves our fan-base and I think it’s going to be crucial how we can leverage technology and data to do this better.”

The FIFA delegation included Benjamin Stoll, Director Business Technology & Innovation House and Michael Broughton, Senior Advisor (Business Technology, Innovation & Investment Strategy).

Aspire Academy Director General Ivan Bravo, Right, Presents A Memento To New Zealand Olympic Committee President Michael Rowland Stanley. Picture Aspire
Aspire Academy Director General Ivan Bravo, right, presents a memento to New Zealand Olympic Committee President Michael Rowland Stanley. Photo: Aspire

Meanwhile, Gu Jianming, Executive Committee Member of the Chinese Football Association and President of Chengdu Football Association, welcomed Qatar teams to train in China.

“We look forward to welcoming Qatar youth team next year to the 7th edition of the Panda Cup, the international youth association football competition that we run in annually in Chengdu,” he said.

“Chinese teams have held their winter break training camps at Aspire in the past and we look forward to more teams from China continuing with this trend and when it’s too hot in Qatar, we would like Qatari teams to come to train in Chengdu too,” he added.

Jianming was accompanied by Xiong Yan, Director of Chengdu Sports Bureau, Cao Xu, the Deputy Director of General Affair Department of Chengdu Sports Bureau and Fan Fangyuan, Deputy General Secretary and Director of International Relations Department of Chengdu Football Association.

Aspire Academy Director of Sport and Strategy, Markus Egger welcomed both delegations before giving them a tour of the complex.
Earlier, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) chief Michael Rowland Stanley had expressed his keenness to work with the elite academy. Rowland, who was recently in Qatar, met with Aspire Academy Director General Ivan Bravo to explore areas of future collaboration.

Stanley said he was impressed with the facilities at the Doha-based academy.

“I’ve travelled a lot and seen many places, but Aspire Academy is truly unique. The philosophy of combining sport and education under one roof, together with exceptional facilities and international know-how, is really impressive. It’s definitely enabling these young Qatari athletes to thrive,” he said.