LaLiga has announced plans to open a permanent academy in China and the development of a youth tournament, the Hope Cup.

The academy, which will be located in Kunming and available for LaLiga clubs, is a joint venture between the league, China Sports Futurity Investment (CSFI) and the governments of the city of Kunming and the county-city of Anning.


The plans were unveiled at a ceremony in Madrid where the agreements for the creation of LaLiga’s first permanent academy in China and the establishment of a youth tournament between LaLiga Santander and Chinese clubs was formalised.


The academy, which will be located in Anning county-city and is expected to start operating in the second half of 2021, will be part of a comprehensive project that will include schools, sports training camps, a specialised medical centre and a football museum, all aimed at promoting the culture and development of football in the region.


The agreements will be in place for ten years and are part of the MOU signed by the parties in Kunming last December. In addition to the projects presented in Madrid, the commitment encompasses LaLiga bringing LaLiga Santander clubs to China, hosting LaLiga Legends matches to the country and promoting exchanges between academies of both countries.


“This project is a big step forward in LaLiga’s strategy in China and shows our commitment to the development of football in the country at all levels,” commented Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga.


“For years we have been collaborating with Chinese football, its clubs, institutions and academies. The new centre in Kunming and the tournament that we’re unveiling today are other examples of this partnership, which are tangible proof of the progress of this collaboration,” he added.


Meanwhile, his counterpart at the CSFI, Wang Jianguang, offered his thoughts on the collaboration, stating: “The academy, along with the other facilities, will serve to boost participation in football in the region and improve the quality of the game. It’ll also put the county-city of Anning and the city of Kunming at the forefront of football youth development in China.”


As well as presenting the academy, and within the framework of this agreement, LaLiga unveiled the Hope Cup, a youth tournament which will see its first edition held this summer. In its maiden edition, U-16 sides from FC Barcelona, Sevilla FC, RCD Espanyol, Deportivo Alaves, Valencia CF and Atletico Madrid will be joined by six yet to be determined Chinese clubs.


In addition to the presidents of LaLiga and CSFI and representatives of the governments of Kunming and Anning, the ceremony was attended by the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Spain, Lyu Fan, and the Director-General of the Office for España Global, Joaquin de Aristegui.