Reigning Premier League champions, Chelsea, have announced an extension to the partnership deal with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) with it being an Official Development Partner of Vision China (part of the Vision Asia project), which is a project devised by the AFC President Mohammed bin Hammam, which aims to raise standards of football within the schools and amateur teams for both men and women.
The deal, which began in 2007, is now extended until 2015 and comes ahead of the clubs second pre-season tour to Asia, where they will be visiting Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong. Chelsea remains the only European team to work beside the AFC on grassroots projects.
‘The Blues’ will provide their knowledge and experience in a range of sectors such as coaching, sports science, medicine, media relations, corporate social responsibility and sponsorship.
The partnership will give the best players from the Vision China project the opportunity to come to England and be coached at Chelsea’s training facilities. This opportunity is even extended to the winner of the AFC Youth Player of the Year.
When Chelsea initially became in involved with Vision Asia in 2007, AFC President Mohammed bin Hammam declared it, 'an historic moment,' because, 'this is the first time a European club came to Asia to give and not to take from us.'
Ron Gourlay, Chief Executive of Chelsea was present at the announcement of the partnership and commented: “Chelsea Football Club prides itself on being the leading club in all regards. Through our many marketing activities around the world we have demonstrated our understanding that wherever we are trying to grow our brand it is vitally important that we are willing to give something back.”
“Chelsea's partnership with the AFC represents our long-term commitment to ensure that whatever our plans are, they fit in with those of the governing body and are contributing to rather than competing with existing programmes. Vision China had some very impressive early successes. We are now focused on deepening our relationship with the project to ensure that our experience and expertise, whether technical or commercial, is delivered on the ground,” added Chelsea’s Chief Executive, Ron Gourlay.