Spanish club FC Barcelona on Wednesday announced its plan to open its first official football school, FCBEscola, in India.

The school, to be opened in association with Conscient Football, will start its operation at the Heritage School in Gurgaon later this year before expanding to other cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Pune.

Addressing a press conference here, director of FCBEscola, Xevi Marce, said, “We will do the same thing we do in Barcelona. It is not going to be easy. We will work hard to make this successful.”

FC Barcelona, which completed its first camp in India in December last, used its experience of working here to pursue its Delhi project. Even though details of the schools' programmes are yet to be finalised, Marce said the trainees (between six and 14 years of age) would be put through a structured methodology developed by the club.

Marce said he was aware of the fact that initiatives taken by several other European clubs had not produced the desired results in India. “We do not make any promise. Time will tell.”

Competitive exposure

Asked whether the FCBEscola trainees would get adequate competitive exposure, Marce said, “Tournaments are important. But without a solid base, these will not help. Our focus is on imparting wholesome training. It involves all players of the team. It is like the foundation of a house. Competition is the roof…We will go step by step.”

Antonio Claveria will be the technical director of FCBEscola Delhi. “Antonio is one of the best coaches. We will lose him in Barcelona,” said Marce on his colleague.

Anupama Jain, director, Conscient Football, said FCBEscola would slowly expand its operation to other parts of the country and at least five per cent of the seats would be reserved for talented footballers from economically backward sections of the society.

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