Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Beckham soon to reveal China host for academy

Former England captain David Beckham will set up a football academy in China and tour the most populous nation with the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Major League Soccer USA club's owner told Grant Clark of Bloomberg. Beckham, who will join the Galaxy from Real Madrid in July, will choose Shanghai, Beijing, Macau or another unidentified Chinese city as the site for his first academy in Asia, said Tim Leiweke, chief executive officer of Anschutz Entertainment Group, the Los Angeles-based company that owns the Galaxy. "We'd like to have something done with David by the time he starts playing for the Galaxy because we're going to have other things we're doing here. We'll be announcing extended training and touring of China," Leiweke said.

"I've always had fantastic support from people in Asia and it is an honor to have an academy there," Beckham said in a tender document for an academy in Asia issued in July. The 32-year-old former Manchester United midfielder has established youth academies in Los Angeles and London as part of ventures with Anschutz. Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment, which created American Idol, is a partner of the Asia academy. The London academy, located next to the former Millennium Dome in Greenwich, is reportedly the biggest children's sports teaching facility in Europe.

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