The FCBEscola project continues its international expansion with the opening of a football school in China: The FCBEscola Qingdao Huanghai. A project stemming from the agreement between FCBEscola and Huanghai Pharmaceutical, one of China's leading pharmaceutical companies. The agreement was presented Friday at a press conference held in the Ricard Maxenchs press room at Camp Nou, and was attended by FC Barcelona Social Area and First Vice President, Jordi Cardoner and FCBEscoles Director, Òscar Grau, as well as the President of Qingdao Huanghai Pharmaceutical Co., Wang Zekai.

With the creation of this school FC Barcelona is collaborating in the development of football in China as part of a nationwide project undertaken by the country's authorities to introduce the sport in schools. Qingdao, a port town on the Yellow Sea, is one of the five cities chosen for this pilot project. It is one of the regions in China with the most footballing culture, and many of its players are on the national team. The city also hosted the sailing competitions during the Beijing Olympics. Barça already has another FCBEscola in Wuhan, in the east of the country.

Qingdao has the support of the government and the football federation to carry out this project, which will be developed in two phases: the first will be the assignment of facilities from the Branch School and Laosham School. In the second phase, Huanghai Pharmaceutical is planning on building the first training ground based on the Ciutat Esportiva in Qingdao, specially built for the FCBEscola.

Strong exponential growth

The FCBEscola has shown strong exponential growth in recent years, with a presence in over 50 countries on five continents, not only through schools, but also through camps and clinics. In total, more than 30,000 children have participated in FCBEscola-related activities, which are based on the Club's own model and which is transmitted from the youth teams all the way to the first team, and whose precepts include a creative and attacking style of play, as well as the instilling of the Club's values of respect, humility, effort, ambition and teamwork. With Qingdao, FC Barcelona now has 17 international schools.

Statements from Jordi Cardoner, First Vice President of FC Barcelona:

"We would like to congratulate Huanghai Pharmaceutical for its commitment to educating young people through football. We appreciate its trust and support on this project that will allow us to transmit the values of our Club to Chinese fans and collaborate in the development of football in the country. The FCBEscola project has grown a lot in recent years and we want to give it more momentum in order to expand the model around the world."

Statements from Wang Zekai, President of Qingdao Huanghai Pharmaceutical Co.:

"The model for training players at La Masia is, in my opinion, the best in the world, so I'm sure that with Barça we will make football bigger in Qingdao and in China. We have maximum enthusiasm and resources and Barça is lending us all its knowledge for this project to become a success. Qingdao is one of the cradles of Chinese football. Fate has brought us together and luck will be with us on this project and we'll succeed in developing stars with values, as Barça has done historically."

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