|Former names||ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence|
Coordinates: Aspire Academy (Arabic: أكاديمية أسباير ‘Akādīmiyat ‘Asbāyr) is a sports academy based in Qatar, founded in 2004 with the goal to scout and help develop Qatari athletes, whilst also providing them with secondary school education.
Aspire Academy was established by an Emiri Decree, No. 16 of 2004, as an independent government-funded agency that reported directly to HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani through HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Later, an Emiri Decree – No.1 of 2008 – incorporated the Aspire Academy as a strategic business unit (SBU) into the new, parent organization of Aspire Zone Foundation. Despite the switch from an independent government body to an SBU, the original purpose and objectives of the Aspire Academy remained the same.
On 17 November 2005, HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani led an opening ceremony of the Aspire Dome, essentially signaling the global announcement of Aspire Academy as an international institute of high standing. Over the years, it has received international recognition.
Talent Identification Program
Aspire Academy's Talent Identification (TID) Program is a nationwide initiative to propel the state of Qatar into the international sporting arena. Working in close coordination with the Qatar National Olympic Committee, and the Supreme Education Council (SEC), its primary aim is to find students within schools in Qatar who have exceptional athletic talent and offer them a student-athlete scholarship within Aspire.
Aspire Academy has adopted a comprehensive concept of curriculum, which does not rely solely on books and courses.
Its courses and subjects feature studies of:
- Islamic Studies
- Science: Biology, Chemistry, Physics
- Social Studies: History, Geography.
On January 21st 2016, Aspire Academy received international accreditation from the Council of International School (CIS).
The H.O.P.E Project – Habituating Overseas Professional Experience – was launched to provide its young football players (ages 18+) with the opportunity to experience training and playing for well-established professional football clubs in Europe. By sending a selection of its football players to these football organizations, the academy aims to help them gain experience, develop their skills and compete with multinational players coming from various multi-cultural backgrounds. International clubs includes Real Madrid, Villareal, Red Bull Salzburg, K.A.S. Eupen, Cultural Leonesa. LASK Linz and Real Sociedad.
Aspire Football Dreams
Aspire Football Dreams is a humanitarian football project currently existent in 18 developing countries on three continents, aimed at empowering youth of the world by identifying football talents. Prepared and planned in 2005/2006 and launched on the ground in 2007, the Aspire Football Dreams project has already tested over two million young footballers from Asia, Latin America and Africa, as part of the largest-ever talent search within the sport. The project relies on a team of professional coaches and scouts, as well as thousands of volunteers. It was established in 2005.
The team has participated in international events, such as the 2011 VFF Cup, where they competed against national teams, and placed runners-up.
Aspire cooperates with the national football associations of the youngsters involved.
Aspire set up an Academy in Senegal in 2008-2009.
As of 2015[update], more than 40 of the scholarship recipients have represented their national football associations (including Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Thailand, Paraguay and Mali) from U17 to A-national teams. No players have been naturalized/represented Qatar, as the academy states that this is not the aim of the project.
In 2014, the Qatar U-19 National Football Team, composed solely of past or current Aspire Academy student-athletes, won the 38th edition of the AFC U-19 Championship in Myanmar, for the first time in Qatar's history.
- Mutaz Essa Barshim, Aspire Academy's graduate is the current World Indoor Championships title holder in High Jump and has the second best outdoor high jump in history  set in the 2014 Diamond League.
- Hammer Thrower, Ashraf El Seify, graduated from Aspire Academy in 2014, won a gold medal at the 2012 Asian Junior Athletics Championships and 2012 World Junior Athletics Championships setting a new World Junior Record and World Youth Best. In 2014, Ashraf became the 1st athlete to successfully defend his title at the IAAF World Junior Championships.
Aspire Academy has chosen an inspiring group of sports people who have achieved outstanding international sporting success in their sporting journey to represent Aspire Academy as Global Ambassadors.
There have been several controversies regarding the academy. One such controversy is the allegation that Qatar bought votes to host the 2022 World Cup with the academy, with critics stating that Aspire sent scouts to Thailand and Guatemala, countries with little footballing history, due to both countries having representation on the FIFA Executive Committee. In addition, Paraguay, one of the countries with a recently opened program, is home to CONMEBOL president Nicolas Leoz. However, the statements were denied by Qatar.
Most notably, there have been many allegations that Qatar plans to assimilate academy players into their 2022 World Cup squad. This is bolstered by Qatar's lenient policy on naturalization of athletes for sports.
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