Barcelona to establish football school in Indonesia

Jakarta: Spanish giant FC Barcelona has started the construction of a 100 million euro ($132.3 million) football academy in Indonesia, the Spanish club's first fully-residential campus outside Spain.

Named FC Barcelona Escola Indonesia, the football school is being built on 15-hectares of land in Sentul of West Java province, about an hour's drive from Jakarta.

The Barca school project has been facilitated by a group of Indonesian businessmen, called Excellion Analytics, in cooperation with Hong Kong-based High Dynamics Investment and Threesixty Sport Marketing.

"We will build our first phase of this long-term project. Hopefully, it will be a 20-year commitment," Threesixty Sport Marketing Director Arif Wicaksono was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The academy, which will be officially launched in September, will be in a compound that consists of a dormitory building and five international-standardized football fields, one real grass field and four synthetic grass fields.

"Right on this spot we will build a football school facility that is similar to La Masia in Barcelona," said Arif, referring to the famous Barcelona-based academy that has produced world class players Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola, the manage of the current Barca squad.

"In the process, we will make the Sentul-based Barca academy even better than La Masia because we've studied the flaws of the La Masia. We are expecting Barcelona Escola Indonesia to be the best in the world," said Arif, adding that it targets 250 eight to 18-year-old kids every year in which ten percent of these kids will receive scholarships.

So far, Barca has established six official schools in Fukuoka (Japan), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Egypt, Kuwait, Lima (Peru) and Warsaw (Poland).(IANS)