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The Barça style was one of the talking points at the latest edition of the Soccerex global conference being held this week in Haikou, on the Chinese island of Hainan, and which has brought together representatives and specialists from the football world. The attendees at this benchmark event included the director of FC Barcelona’s Asia-Pacific Office, Jordi Camps, who spoke about ‘Investing in Asia: The Barça Way’, and as part of his talk announced the second edition of the Barça Academy China Cup 2019 this coming July.
The venue for the tournament will be the site of the Barça Academy Pro, which has six football fields operating as a training centre since 2017, and forming part of the FC Barcelona complex in Hainan together with the Barça Experience in Haikou, which combines different leisure activities with a catering zone, a megastore and a centre offering Barça experiences. The competition will involve more than 200 children from 24 teams representing the Barça Academies in Haikou, Qingdao, Chengdu, Kunming and Lijiang. The event offers the players the unique opportunity to play on the Barça grounds, following on from the Academy World Cup held in Barcelona last April and which included four Chinese Barça Academies among the 188 teams that arrived from all over the world.
This is our second Barça Academy international tournament in China and shows our ongoing commitment to developing youth football in China”,said Carles Martín, director of the Barça Academy project. “At FC Barcelona we’re a firm believer that Sport is not a business, but a passion, part of our culture and lifestyle. Furthermore, that the way that we play football is just as important as winning. The Academies teach both and so much more. To have Academies all over the country come together in a tournament at our Academy Pro in Haikou is special”.
Committed to Chinese football
As well as announcing this competition, Camps also explained how much Barça is growing throughout Asia and the main future challenges for promoting the club in the Chinese market. The club has an estimated 47 million fans in the country, making up 16% of its global fan base.
He also described the importance of understanding different markets, people, cultures, sports infrastructures and media in order to create products and contents of relevance and interest to each audience, both online and offline. A fine example of this is the opening in 2018 of the Barça Experience Haikou, that is the largest experience space for any football club outside of its own country. The FC Barcelona representatives visited the Barça Experience facilities, along with the Barça Academy Pro, during their stay to attend the Soccerex conference.
Since 2017, more than 1,200 boys and girls have taken part in the different camps and programmes on the Barça Academy Pro facilities, run using the same methodology as that used at all Barça schools. Additionally, more than 5,000 youngsters from the city of Haikou have received coaching from Barça Academy staff as part of the different campaigns to encourage football at schools.
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