Football academies reopen in Dubai, with certain curbs - GulfToday

Football academies reopen in Dubai, with certain curbs


A student undergoes thermal screening at the Juventus Football Academy in Dubai.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

As the fear of the coronavirus is abating among people, some of the prominent football academies in Dubai have already reopened their doors to children, albeit with certain guidelines.

Italian giants Juventus along with Barcelona and Manchester City are a few to name who have started business as usual with precautionary measures while others like Real Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are still waiting for a nod.

Marco Casula, Technical Director of Juventus Football Academy, believes it is safe to train now by following the guidelines laid down by the government and Dubai Sports Council (DSC).

“We have reopened the doors of the academy for the children so that they can continue training with certain precautionary measures.

“We are strictly adhering to the guidelines laid down by the DSC in to order to ensure a safe and sound environment for our students.

“All our students are equally important for us but as per the guidelines, we are allowing children only above 12 years for now,” said Casula.

Elaborating on what kind of safety measures are being followed by the academy, he said: “We are following social distancing. Not more than four children are allowed to train in a group. And we have one coach assigned for every group of four children.

“All our players will be requested to check their body temperature daily, to wear face masks (which could be removed temporarily inside the fields during intense activities).

“All our staff members are respecting social distancing regulations as well. We ask all parents to not bring their kids to the training if they have any symptoms of respiratory disease.

“We recommend to all our players to bring two water bottles with them, both to drink and to cool themselves down if needed.

“As per the DSC regulations, parents are only allowed to drop off and pick up their kids and will not be allowed to enter our facility,” informed Casula.

Due to the high temperature, the academy is operating only from 6-8pm. And each session is of only 50 minutes. Ten minutes are given to children to wear the important gear. Casula also backed the return of professional football, certainly with some extra safety measures, as the beautiful game has the power to bring smiles back to the faces of people in the time of distress.

“I think it is good that football is gradually returning in Europe. We can always play football with some precautionary measures like without fans.

“Football can work wonders. Not only will it be beneficial in monetary terms and save hundreds of millions of dollars from being wiped away but it will also bring optimism among people.

“I believe professional teams are taking tough measures to curb the virus and it does not make sense to abort the league only if two three players are infected out of thousands of players and back office staff,” remarked Casula.

Football is gradually returning as most of the professional leagues across the continent have either restarted or are ready to resume. Italy was one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus and even they are looking to restart the league in June only.

Casula also lauded the efforts of the UAE government and DSC for helping them not only to reopen the academy but for also providing all kinds of assistance and guidelines.

Meanwhile, the DSC is keen on supporting and providing all means of success for the sports academies sector, which includes hundreds of official and private academies, that are linked to sports clubs, sports federations and private sports institutions.

These academies offer training and coaching in more than 50 different sports, including football, tennis, basketball, karate, cricket, badminton and squash.

The academies are distributed across the emirate of Dubai and employ thousands of trainers, technicians, medical staff, fitness and nutrition specialists.

The academies cater to a huge and growing number of talented young athletes, and play an important role in grooming these talents for success in the future.

The DSC organises a number of tournaments annually, in different sports and age groups, to support the academies and to encourage children by providing them with a platform to showcase their skills and gain experience in official competitions.

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