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Spain boost to dribble power

Bodhi Tree Educational Foundation and R1 Foundation members in Bodhgaya on Wednesday. Picture by Suman

A football academy would come up in Bodhgaya next year in collaboration with a non-profit organisation in Spain.

Bodhgaya-based Bodhi Tree Educational Foundation (BTEF) and Spain-based R1 Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard on Wednesday. The academy is expected to start functioning from January 1.

R1 Foundation president Rufino Mateo Collado Fernandez, director Maria Diaz Moral and BTEF director Dhirendra Sharma signed the MoU for a two-year period till December 31, 2017. However, the agreement can be extended further with consent of both parties. According to the agreement, the academy will be named Progress R1 Bodhi Tree and will function under Bodhi Tree School of Sporting Excellence - a wing of BTEF.

A three-member R1 team from Spain had visited and surveyed sports places in Patna and Bodhgaya. It also met the director-general of Bihar State Sports Authority, Arvind Pandey (IPS), who said: "We have assured all cooperation to R1 Foundation."

As per the MoU, the partnership, objectives and activities it develops would be called Progress R1 Bodhi Tree. The project aims at teaching and development of sports and its infrastructure. R1 will design a training plan for Indian technicians and coaches in which methodology will be taught. R1 will move its technical staff, which will teach, supervise and provide guidance to local technicians. It is intended to provide activities to children and, through football, develop social inclusion and give special importance to work in the field of education. The foundation will bear salaries of coach and manager and also meet needs like equipment and logistics required for football practice. It will provide installations required to play soccer in Bodhgaya and also provide financial and logistical resources to build a football ground.

Arun Kumar Ojha, administrator of the proposed body, said, after getting training, footballers will play in league matches here and in Spain. "We will select coaches and send them for at least a month's training in Spain. The football ground would come up at Shripur, 4km south of Bodhgaya," Ojha said.

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