End Of Manchester United's Training Camp at Aspire

Jan 13, 2010, 13:49 ET from Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence

DOHA, Qatar, January 13 /PRNewswire/ --

- "A Memorable Experience" Says Boss Sir Alex Ferguson

English Premier League champions Manchester United have described their training camp at ASPIRE as a great success, with manager Sir Alex Ferguson calling the visit "a memorable experience."

    (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100113/374098-a )

    (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100113/374098-b )

The Reds had decided to escape from the snow and ice that has gripped the UK, and most of Europe, for nearly a fortnight and take advantage of the blue skies and warm sunshine of Doha. During their stay, they also took advantage of some of the state-of-the-art facilities available to them at ASPIRE.

United held several training sessions on the outdoor football pitches - a mixture of stretching and running exercises, ball work, formation play and practice matches. Their session on Wednesday morning was open to the public and attracted a large number of visitors from the very young to the not so young.

ASPIRE's gym was also put to use, with the players being put through their paces under the watchful eye of Sir Alex and his coaching assistants.

Sir Alex also found time to meet and talk to ASPIRE's own football coaches, giving them an insight into his thoughts on tactics and methods. ASPIRE's Head Football Coach, Michael Browne, said: "We all found Sir Alex's comments informative and interesting. It was a very useful exercise."

After their final, and probably most strenuous, work-out at ASPIRE, the players were invited on a short tour of the academy, were presented with mementos of their visit, and signed shirts were exchanged.

Sir Alex signed ASPIRE's Wall of Fame (as did Michael Owen) and then commented in the Visitors' Book:

"On behalf of all my players and staff, may we thank you for such a memorable experience. ASPIRE's complex is without question the best I have ever seen. Not only that, the operation is so well managed that it has made our stay very easy and relaxed. We hope that this journey is not our last here and that it will initiate a true bond between Manchester United F. C. and our friends at ASPIRE and in Qatar."

He then publicly thanked the officials of ASPIRE for making their stay both possible and so enjoyable - and reiterated his hope that the visit would mark the beginning of a good relationship between the club and ASPIRE.

Notes to Editors:

Created in 2004, the ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence in Doha has the dual aims of identifying and transforming promising student athletes into world-renowned champions across a wide range of sports and to act as a beacon to draw sporting culture into the centre of life in Qatar and the surrounding region.

The Academy is distinguished by a philosophy which aims to develop the student as a whole, providing them with full academic, social and sporting development.

Unrivalled facilities, housed in and around the world's largest purpose built indoor sports dome, ensure the Academy's reputation as one of the foremost sporting and educational institutions in the entire international community, enticing an ever-increasing number of visitors and users, from sporting legends to global political leaders.

Every aspect of the development of elite athletes is catered for by one indoor and seven outdoor football pitches, athletics tracks, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, diving pool, combat arenas, gymnastics arena, specially fitness weight rooms, lecture halls, dormitories to accommodate what will eventually become 1,000 students, a medical centre and many more facilities.

Launched in 2007, the ASPIRE Football Dreams project has annually tests over 600.000 young footballers from all over the world including Asia, South America and Africa as part of the largest ever talent search within the sport.

The ASPIRE ACTIVE initiative is a community engagement program spread across the country ensuring that thousands of the nation's residents have accessible and advanced health and fitness activities as routine aspects of their lives. Each social group is catered for by tailor-made classes and programs.

ASPIRE Media Information

For All media enquiries (Arabic and English) and high resolution images contact:

Hassan Esbaiss E: hassan.esbaiss@aspire.qa M: +974-521-9545

SOURCE Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence