Talented youth footballers in the UAE will soon have another path to the professional ranks after Pass Abu Dhabi and Charlton Athletic announced a new partnership that will see the English football club open an academy in Dubai.
The Charlton Athletic football academy, which opened in September, is led by club great and former Wales international John Robinson. As one of the UAE's leading football coaching providers, Pass assists the academy in creating new opportunities for players in the Emirates to pursue their ambitions of a professional career.
“We are extremely excited to create this partnership with a recognised football club in England,” said Seth Amoafo, founder and director of Pass. “From the first time I spoke to John in April, we clicked because we had the same ethos about the values football could teach our young players. What’s more, he fully understood the challenges we have here in the UAE with a glass ceiling for some of our talented players.
“What this link with Charlton FC will do is allow us to identify a young player, either on our books or anyone at all in Abu Dhabi with talent and more importantly the right attitude and recommend him or her to the club.
"The most attractive feature in this partnership is that the opportunities are genuine; Charlton are open and enthusiastic about finding the best youth players from the UAE so talented players can actually dream of one day signing their first professional contract.”
As well as a permanent academy in Dubai, there are plans to hold holiday camps in October and a talent identification programme starting in November, ultimately leading to a UAE Representative team made up of the best players from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the other emirates.
“Having spent most of my professional football career at Charlton, it is an honour to represent them in their first international venture” said Robinson. “When I was first introduced to Seth, I knew immediately that Pass was an organisation we wanted to partner with.
"Their strong community, and inclusive values emulate those of Charlton Athletic, and this synergy together with our own personal objectives to provide young players with opportunities and pathways in football, cemented the relationship.
“I am excited to see the talent in Abu Dhabi, and even more excited to help these players develop and ultimately realise their dreams. Seth and I share a passion for the game, and ensuring young players are provided with genuine, authentic pathways.”