Spanish football superstar Emilio Butragueño was in Croydon yesterday to kick off the official launch of the Real Madrid Foundation’s first social sports school in Britain.The event was hosted at The Cedars School, the independent school on Coombe Road, one of the partners in the project.
Butragueño, the former Spain World Cup player who won six La Liga titles during his playing career with Real, is a former director of football at the club and was in south London to introduce the concept of a social sports school.
The Real Madrid Foundation works with local groups to establish social sports schools. All the schools have the remit of providing education of values through sport for the integration of young people at risk of social exclusion.
“The Real Madrid Foundation really believe that sport is a vehicle of social integration and personal development,” Butragueño said.Butragueño was not asked what he thought of establishing the social sports school in an area where the nearest Premier League club players in colours based on Real’s greatest rivals, Barcelona.
Nor did he comment on the possibility of one of his club’s players wanting image rights for the Croydon postcode CR7…
The Social Sports School seeks to benefit boys and girls aged between 8 and 11 from economically or socially disadvantaged backgrounds in south London. Over a period of time, the upper age limit will increase to 17. Coaching is carried out predominantly by local coaches who have been trained the “Real Madrid way”.Cedars headmaster Robert Teague said, “I am delighted to be part of this exciting partnership between Real Madrid and The Cedars School. It will be a great thing for the local community and it should benefit many, many young people.
“The most exciting aspect of the project for me is that it is not just about teaching football skills but about preparing young people for life. All-round character development helps children to turn their dreams into reality and to help others in the process.”
The project has been made possible by Sport for Unity, a west London charity that has provided sponsorship, the Kinetic Foundation, a Croydon charity involved in football coaching, and PACT Educational Trust, which owns and operates The Cedars.
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