Move to set up international sports academy in Bahrain

AN international sports academy could be set up under Bahrain’s most successful club – Muharraq – if municipal councillors have their way.

An urgent proposal to establish the academy has been submitted by Arad area councillor Ahmed Al Meghawi, and has received initial backing from the Muharraq Municipal Council.

However, the proposal will be further reviewed by the Youth and Sports Affairs Ministry, the General Sports Authority and the Supreme Council for Youth and Sport along with the club’s board.

Muharraq Club recently secured the coveted AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Cup for the second time in its history defeating FC Nasaf 3-0 following up victory in the same competition in 2008.

His Majesty King Hamad praised the team’s performance. He stressed that the club was the oldest in Bahrain and the Gulf and highlighted its successful track record and achievements.

He also directed officials to make a documentary on the club’s history and achievements.

The Cabinet, chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, also commended the efforts and capabilities of the club which reflected the development of Bahrain sport and its distinguished position at the regional and international levels.

The club was established in 1928 as the first in the region and is known as “The Shaikh of Gulf Clubs”.

It won the league title 34 times, The Amir/King Cup 32 times and the Super Cup three times.

The club also won the Gulf Champions League in 2012.

“The oldest and most successful football club in the history of Bahrain should have its own academy to foster young talent in sports,” said Mr Al Meghawi.

“Muharraq is a benchmark not just in football but also volleyball and basketball amongst other teams and individual sports.

“This makes it the most suitable and only candidate for an international sports school which people from across the region can come to.”

The councillor added that Muharraq Club has several plots of land that it could use to set up the academy besides its existing state-of-the-art facilities.

“The academy needn’t necessarily be run by Muharraq Club directly; it could be offered to investors,” said Mr Al Meghawi.

“It could attract the Ajax Youth Academy or Barcelona’s La Masia amongst many other European clubs to invest in Bahrain.

“We should capitalise on Muharraq Club’s success as it paves the way for much bigger accomplishments for my area, the country, the region and the world.”

Council vice-chairman Hassan Al Doy said Muharraq Club had the means to spearhead the project.

“Muharraq Club offer multiple sports disciplines which makes it the most attractive choice for the academy.

“The spotlight is on the club and for that officials in the government need to push ahead with the project as quickly as possible.”




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