Maxim Mitrofanov: The Zenit Academy will be one of the bases for the World Cup
The Zenit General Director on the reconstruction of the blue-white-sky blue's football school, investment in the Academy over the next year and the soccer citizenship of Danny's sons.
The academy will soon fully open after many years of renovation, but not a single day of the training of our young players has been missed. The academy will also be one of the training bases in the 2018 World Cup. Before the World Cup the main pitch will be completely reconstructed and the capacity will increase to 3,000 spectators. We hope that in the summer-autumn period, when the weather permits, the youth team and Zenit-2 will play home matches on the central pitch at the academy.
On the budget of the school
The academy has a budget of 500 million rubles, not so long ago it was most impressive budget of all the European football schools. Actually, that has not changed, just the exchange rate has changed. Education at the school is provided free, so parents can send a child here without spending a penny on their training. This complex has 364 children there and in total the Zenit Academy has trained 1,500 youngsters.
About future investment
The reconstruction of the academy was due to end in 2010, but only recently has the main building and the boarding facility been ready for operation. The infrastructure is also being repaired. The replacement is being carried out over the next year. The astroturf is approaching it's end of it's life as is the inflatable indoor arena. Its construction was not the best solution to our climate, so we have decided about the future for this technology. For the most part, this extensive investment will be invested into the Academy over the next year, we will focus on the construction of a full-fledged major arena with a full-size pitch. Most likely, this structure will be permanent and will have the possibility to host friendly games. I think this is expected for the next year.
On the completion of the main building
The main building will have two rooms with different coverings. Why two different coverings? The fact that the ball moves faster on the different coating develops speed and the time players have to make decisions is reduced, they improve their technique on the ball and the speed of decision-making. In the future we will replace of the second coating to the floor so that the children could play basketball. Currently our colleagues are studying the current trends of training players used in various European football schools and one of the most important youth training elements abroad is the presence of other sports in addition to football.
On the purpose of the boarding facility
Boarding at the academy has forty places. Forty places for children from other regions or from St. Petersburg but where its a very long ride. This amount is more than enough places. Now in our boarding school there are about 15 students. This building will also have a large facility for use by the entire academy, a dining area, and laundry, a cinema and a hall for press conferences. This part of the premises will perform administrative functions too, from the selection process to a range of other services will all be there. All this will provide more intimate contact and supervise the work of all departments, from the preparation of players and technical issues. The boarding facility is in a very high degree of readiness and we are now in the final preparations before commissioning.
On the soccer citizenship of Danny's children
FIFA's made the decision last October to grant Francisco and Bernard Russian football citizenship, they were then allowed to officially take part in the city and national competitions. Their father's current contract ends in a year, so they have a higher chance to finish at our Academy.