Spanish football club Real Madrid, which earlier this year unveiled plans for a US$1bn branded resort in Ras Al Khaimah, has increased its links with the UAE with the announcement of the launch of a football academy in Dubai.
Baniyas Investment and Development, the investment arm of Baniyas Football Club, on Sunday announced the inauguration of the Real Madrid Foundation Football Academy in Dubai.
Set up in association with the Real Madrid Foundation, the organisers said the academy will offer specialist training to those aged 4 to 17-years old and will focus on technical, social, educative and moral aspects, as well as on field tactical practices.
"After the success of the Real Madrid Foundation Football Academy in Abu Dhabi and in response to strong demand, we decided to launch operations for the Academy in Dubai,” said Waleid Gamal Eldien, deputy CEO of Baniyas Investment and Development Company.
The academies will take place at Brighton College in Abu Dhabi and at the Dubai Municipality Club Field.
The announcement comes just months after a ceremony was held to unveil plans for a US$1bn Real Madrid Resort Island, which is set to open in Ras Al Khaimah by 2015, despite having not yet secured funding.
Speaking at a press conference in March 2012, CEO of the venture Louis Armand De Rouge said developers were still in the process of luring investors to the project, but planned to start construction in six months.
“This is such a unique project, that I don’t see any drawbacks in people being attracted to funding,” he told reporters.
The development, which is a joint venture between Spanish football team Real Madrid, the government of Ras Al Khaimah and Luxembourg-based RAK Marjan Island Football Investment Fund, will begin building work following a roadshow which aims to bring in investors, he said at the time.