Posted on October 05, 2015

Former Manchester United and Inter Milan star and Argentine footballing hero Juan Sebastien Veron kicked off the Aspire Academy Global Summit on Football Performance and Science in Berlin today, perfectly setting the tone for the event with an opening address focused on youth development.

Highlighting the social responsibility of football clubs in providing physical as well as psychological support, he recalled the experience of fellow countryman and former team-mate Carlos Tevez when he said: “We have youngsters from difficult backgrounds, kids from broken families or children whose fathers are in prison. Those young people need support from football clubs. Carlos Tevez is an example of just that. He is from a very poor environment but managed to become a big star nonetheless.”

Offering advice to young players to focus on their game, he said: “When you’re young, you don’t think about your career. For many young people, it’s all about getting the latest tattoo, the newest car and the latest fashion items. We have to succeed in getting those young players focused on sport instead, and focused on their duties.” Throughout the day, some of the biggest names in the game and representatives from 50 leading clubs and federations from five continents shared invaluable insights and perspectives on nurturing footballing talent and supporting young players in achieving sporting success.

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The event in Berlin follows after Aspire Academy hosted the first edition in Paris in 2014. During that event, a worldwide platform called ‘Aspire in the World Fellows’ was launched, creating a unique community of football experts to share their knowledge and work together in order to improve football. More than 150 leading youth coaches and performance specialists involved with the programme are in Berlin to share knowledge and expertise from around the world, develop recommendations for training methodologies and support the management of young footballers to enhance their psychological and physical performance.

Several of the games greatest players and managers have also been sharing the benefit of their experience during the first day. These include former German international Stefan Effenberg and Borussia Dortmund Manager Thomas Tuchel who both took part in ‘Star Chats’ throughout the afternoon. Commenting on his side’s defeat over the weekend, Borussia Dortmund's Manager Thomas Tuchel credited Bayern Munich’s impressive qualities. "Bayern can do everything”, he said, comparing them to FC Barcelona and Real Madrid and acknowledging their continual success and the team's unity. During his discussion, Tuchel also highlighted the importance of humility, stating "being and remaining humble is very important. When you keep having success, you tend to become euphoric. Losses are part of the game.”

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Also taking place during the two days is the ASPIRE4SPORT Exhibition, a business-to-business exhibition designed to create a wide range of networking opportunities for European and Qatari sports industry professionals. A large number of Qatari and Middle Eastern government organisations and companies attended the event to meet representatives from across Europe’s leading sports business sectors including construction, sports medicine, logistics, event management, communication and technology.

The quality of the event’s participants and attendees reflects Qatar’s growing influence and importance on the global sports stage and Aspire Academy’s success in gathering together the world’s top sports leaders to help improve football around the World.

A series of announcements during the day also highlights the growing profile and importance of ASPIRE4SPORT as a fixture in the sports industry event calendar. These include:

  • An announcement by Victoriano Melero, President of the French Football Federation (FFF) and Mansoor Al Ansari, General Secretary of the Qatar Football Association (QFA) who discussed closer cooperation between both organisations in terms of youth development, training techniques and technical research.
  • A new partnership signed between Spanish football club Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa and global youth and sports charity Save the Dream to agree a series of key principles and commitments to promote the values of sport in local schools, and host activities designed to empower young people and the local community.
  • A new agreement between Aspire Academy and the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) to empower young athletes through the values of sport and to improve access to sport for young children.

With some of the biggest names in football and leaders from the sports industry in attendance, the event provides the ideal setting for decision makers to meet, share ideas and approaches that pave the wave for future collaboration.