The Rivers State Government and Hieng Yuan Xiang (HYX), one of the World’s largest Textile Company based in China have agreed to partner towards the development of Real Madrid Academy, with a view to empowering less privileged children.
They reached the agreement on Monday at a meeting on the sidelines of the 83rd Congress of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) holding in Budapest, Hungary.
Governor Wike represented the Rivers State Government while Mr Liu Ruiqi, HYX Chairman of Board represented HYX. The meeting was facilitated by the AIPS President, Mr Gianni Merlo.
Wike stated that his administration initiated the Real Madrid Academy to groom future international football stars and also empower the less privileged.
“We initiated the Real Madrid Academy to empower the less privileged and give them the opportunity to actualize their potentials. We are offering them training in Football and academics,” he said.
Governor Wike said that the Rivers State Government has completed world-class facilities in the area of Football and Basketball at the Academy.
He said that hostels and additional classrooms are being developed, pointing out that they will be ready before the next academic session.
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“We are at the moment developing hostel and additional classrooms for the Real Madrid Academy. These facilities will be ready before the beginning of the next academic session “, Governor Wike said.
The Rivers State Governor called on the largest Textile Company in China to partner with the Rivers State Government to expand the frontiers of the Academy.
He said as the second-largest economy in Nigeria, such a partnership will be to the benefit of several less privileged children.
He also called on HYX to extend her sports sponsorship programmes to the Real Madrid Academy, as the Academy will soon become the biggest sports development centre in Africa.
Responding, Mr Liu Ruiqi, HYX Chairman of Board assured the Rivers State Governor that his company is interested in partnering with the Rivers State Government to develop the Real Madrid Academy.
He said that HYX as one of the key sponsors of the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese Football Team and other sports activities, is interested in sports academies that empower the less privileged.
He said that in the coming months he will work with the Rivers State Government to visit the state as part of the process to consolidate on the partnership process.
Also speaking, AIPS President, Mr Gianni Merlo said that the Real Madrid Academy is a worthy football project that deserves support and encouragement.
He said: “I was in Nigeria in 2017 when the process for the setting up of the Real Madrid Academy started. I was impressed with what was on the ground. The Academy has developed and it deserves International support.
“That is the reason I facilitated this meeting. The Real Madrid Academy is a wonderful project, developed by the Rivers State Government.”
Mitchell Obi, AIPS President (Africa) urged HYX to support the Real Madrid Academy, as it is a veritable empowerment tool. He said that Governor Wike is one of the greatest promoters of sports in Africa, hence the AIPS honoured him with the Power of Sports (POS), Africa award.