Rivers State Government and Real Madrid Football Club have signed a ratification agreement for the development of Real Madrid Academy, Port Harcourt into an international football academy.
The agreement signing ceremony took place on Monday at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, home of Real Madrid Football Club. The signature event held at the Presidency Reception Centre of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
The signature of the ratification Protocol was executed by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, and the Executive Vice President of Real Madrid Football Club Foundation, Enrique Sanchez.
In an address, Governor said the Rivers State government is preparing the Real Madrid Academy as a veritable pathway for the empowerment of Rivers children.
He said: “We are preparing the Real Madrid Academy as a veritable pathway for our young stars to be international football talents and for them to realise their dreams.
“We will offer them exposure, nurturing opportunities and mentorship by world renowned professionals at the Real Madrid Academy.”
He informed the Real Madrid Football Club management that the Rivers StateGovernment has already exhibited seriousness by developing the needed infrastructure at the Real Madrid Academy in Port Harcourt.
He said in establishing the Real Madrid Academy, the Rivers government took into consideration the culture and reality of the state.
“Taking the interest of our youths, the Real Madrid Academy is designed for culture and holistic programmes with a comprehensive package for the acquisition of high level knowledge in a comfortable and inspiring environment,” he said.
He added that the Real Madrid Academy will also serve as an avenue to grow the economy of Rivers State, which he noted is the second largest in the country. Governor Wike urged officials of Real Madrid Football Club to serve as ambassadors of Rivers State to the rest of Europe.
Executive Vice President of Real Madrid Football Club Foundation, Enrique Sanchez, commended the Rivers State government for using football as a tool to empower youths.
He assured that the Real Madrid Foundation will continue to partner with Rivers state government for the training and exposure of Rivers children.
Sanchez said the partnership with the Rivers State government will be expanded to include local schools in the state.
The Director of Institutional Relations in Real Madrid Football Club, Mr Emilio Butragueno, said Real Madrid appreciates any authority that promotes the wellbeing of children, irrespective of their background.
He thanked Governor Wike for the initiative of using football as a platform to reach out to different categories of Rivers children.
Earlier, Butragueno took Governor Wike and his entourage on a tour of facilities at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.