CHENGDU - Inter Academy WIFA Sichuan, the fourth Inter Academy in China, was opened in the city of Chengdu today following a strategic agreement between FC Internazionale Milano, Suning Sports Group and Wawa International Football Academy.
The new opening represents the first step in a wider development plan shared by Inter and Suning for the growth of the Inter Academy project in China, underlining the two organisations’ shared commitment to bolstering football culture and the training of young players and coaches throughout the country.
The Inter Academy team is working closely with Suning to identify solid partners suitable for joining the technical training project. The agreement with Wawa International Football Academy – who have for been operating in the education and school services sectors for years – is the first example of how Inter Academy’s skills in organising projects based on high technical standards fit perfectly with Suning’s deep commitment to promoting the development of youth football in China.
In attendance for the opening ceremony in Chengdu was Inter vice president Javier Zanetti, chief revenue officer Michael Gandler, Inter Academy project director Barbara Biggi and technical director Marco Monti. Deputy general manager of Competition Management Centre Mark Zheng was there to represent Suning Sports Group, while WIFA president Pu Wen also attended.
“We are delighted to be able to unveil this project, which sees us become active players alongside Suning in the Sichuan area, especially given that we are collaborating with such a well-organised, solid partner like WIFA,” said Zanetti. “We are passionate about strengthening football culture by sharing our technical expertise and training coaches and young players in their countries of origin according to international footballing and ethical standards.”
“The development of this partnership is an important first step in the process of raising awareness and improving football training in China,” added Mark Zheng. “It’s something that Suning is fully committed to promoting, by drawing on the professionalism and expertise of Inter.”
“WIFA and Inter Academy will work together to develop youth football in Sichuan province with the objective of creating the next chapter in the history of Chinese football. For us, this is about our responsibility to society and responding to the huge demand from fans here in China,” said WIFA founder and president Pu Wen.
The educational process followed in the new Academy will mirror the youngsters’ personal development, beginning with activities tailored to nursery schools and progressing all the way to competitive football for older age groups, culminating in the creation of Elite Teams.
Fifty-nine public and private schools will be involved in the project, with a total of 1410 young persons between the ages of four and 18 taking part. There are five football training centres, with two Inter coaches – Valerio Ringoli and Giovanni Barbugian – coordinating and mentoring 30 local instructors under the supervision of technical director Marco Monti.
The Inter Academy project operates in Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Japan as well as China, with 15,000 youngsters, 200 local instructors and 30 Italian coaches taking part. The project is the international face of Inter’s youth academy, which is famed both for the notable on-field success it has achieved and for the ability of its coaches to develop and mentor the professional footballers of the future.
Inter Academies train men first and footballers second. The sense of ethical responsibility that defines the project is a direct reflection of the history and philosophy of FC Internazionale Milano itself. Respect for others, active participation in group life, exchanging ideas and sharing both victories and defeats are essential parts of the Academy ethos, representing shared learning experiences for the players involved.
The cohesive technical strategy shared between Milan and the other centres around the world is the cornerstone of the project. It’s what makes it unique and ensures that every Inter Academy in the world is a direct extension of the club’s youth academy.
At the very heart of the project is a focus on technical ability. All Inter Academy coaches spend years gaining experience in Inter’s youth academy network, and the standard of training methods used is very high as a result. Indeed, the club’s experience and success in youth football were the main reasons why the decision was taken to share the methods used at the youth academy in Milan with the rest of the world.
But what truly motivated Inter to export its methodology was the desire for every child to have the opportunity to develop and train at the high technical and ethical standards proposed by Inter while being able to stay at home – the natural place for them to grow as human beings.
We take particular care to pass on our expertise to local coaches, because improving the standard of coaching at a local level represents a crucial step in building a system that can ensure the development of youth football.