How can a small country with a population of barely 3 million produce fantastic talents such as Ian Rush, Ryan Giggs, Mark Hughes and Craig Bellamy? Although there is no magic formula, there are ways to ensure that the next generation of budding superstars is given the best possible chance to succeed. The opening of a national training centre is clearly one such measure, which is why the Goal project unveiled by the FIFA President on Wednesday should be a valuable contribution to the development of Welsh football.
The training centre is in part funded by the FIFA Goal programme, and is part of a larger project in the Vale of Glamorgan sports complex managed by Leekes Ltd. The Welsh Rugby Union, the Football Association of Wales, Cardiff Blues rugby club, and Cardiff City FC are also collaborating in the project. In addition, the complex will provide high-quality facilities for the Welsh national youth teams.
After an introduction by Football Association of Wales President, Mr. Philip Pritchard, the FIFA President began his address. "We need member associations such as yourselves, who implement FIFA Goal projects in an exemplary fashion. We should take great pride in the opening of this training pitch, which is testament to our common goal of constantly developing football throughout the world."
It was then time for the opening ceremony of the centre itself, followed by a press conference in which Joseph S. Blatter spoke about some of modern football's core principles. "Together, we must continue to uphold the values which football represents and to protect the game and everyone involved in it. In doing this, we must ensure that the fundamental principles of integrity in our tournaments, the unpredictability of results, a solid code of ethics and fair play are adhered to across the board."