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AC Milan to open three academies in Kerala

(Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Italian football club AC Milan is opening three youth training academies in the Indian state of Kerala under a three-year partnership with local company Calicut Sports City.

According to the AC Milan website, the academies will open in April 2020, with coach Claudio Zola visiting India to train local coaches and oversee various aspects of the operation.

The first three academies are in Kozhikode, Malappuram and Ernakulam. There are plans to open three more, in Kasargod, Kannur and Trissur, in the coming years.

AC Milan International Academies manager Alessandro Gianni said: “India is a highly strategic territory and we are proud to launch a project that, from the state of Kerala, will allow us to bring thousands of children into football with passion and competence thus promoting all those sporting values that have always been the basis of our club’s initiatives.

“Our mission is to share AC Milan’s technical and organisational know-how, focusing on the training of local coaches and managers so they can involve boys, girls and their families on a daily basis. Claudio Zola, AC Milan Academy official coach, will help to manage and to power the project that, starting from the cities of Kozhikode, Malappuram and Ernakulam, is going to seize all the opportunities in terms of social and sporting results.”

Calicut Sports City president Milan Baiju said: “The goal of the first year is to involve more than 600 children between 5-to-18 years old, who will have the opportunity to train and participate in all the activities offered by the Academy. The Calicut Arena in Kozhikode will be the headquarters of the entire project that is going to be broadened involving other sports facilities in Kozhikode, Malappuram and Ernakulam to bring us closer to many families and provide high quality training to the children involved.”