Aspire Academy

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Aspire Academy
أكاديمية أسباير
Aspire Academy Logo White.png
Former namesASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence
LocationDoha, Qatar
Coordinates25°16′05″N 51°26′37″E / 25.268071°N 51.443605°E / 25.268071; 51.443605

Coordinates: 25°16′05″N 51°26′37″E / 25.268071°N 51.443605°E / 25.268071; 51.443605 Aspire Academy (Arabic: أكاديمية أسباير‎, romanizedAkādīmiyat 'Asbāyr) is a sports academy based in the Aspire Zone in Qatar,[1] founded in 2004 with the goal to scout and help develop Qatari athletes, whilst also providing them with secondary school education.


Aspire Academy graduates in 2012

Aspire Academy was established by an Emiri Decree, No. 16 of 2004,[2] as an independent government-funded agency that reported directly to the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani through the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Later, an Emiri Decree – No.1 of 2008[3] – 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, 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.[4][5][6]

Aspire own Spanish team Cultural Leonesa[7] and Belgian team K.A.S. Eupen. In August 2017, Spanish side Atlético Astorga FC announced links with Aspire Academy. The link up saw some Aspire based players join the club.[8] As of 3 January 2018, Aspire also have an official partnership with Leeds United in England.[9] They also have a satellite academy in the African country of Senegal.[10]


Plaque for the academy in Qatar, 2006


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.[citation needed] With the same Aspire players, the senior side managed to conquer the nation's first ever AFC Asian Cup in 2019 edition.[11]



The Aspire Dome at night

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.[18] The statements were denied by Qatar.[19]

Most notably, there have been many allegations that Qatar plans to assimilate academy players into their 2022 World Cup squad.[20] This is bolstered by Qatar's lenient policy on naturalization of athletes for sports.[21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mercy Njue (3 May 2017). "Aspire Academy: Unlocking the potential of Qatar's youth". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Emiri Decree, No. (16) 2004 - Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence Establishment". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Emiri Decree No. (1) 2008 - Aspire Zone Foundation establishment". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Messi lauds facilities at Aspire Academy". Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Bennett, Tom. "Aspire Academy: Qatar's Future of Football - Back Page Football Back Page Football". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Aspire-owned Cultural Leonesa hope to shock Real". 25 October 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Aspire gives players and coaching staff to Atlético Astorga". Desde La Grada. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  9. ^ "LEEDS UNITED LAUNCH ASPIRE ACADEMY PARTNERSHIP". Leeds United A.F.C. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  10. ^ Academy, Aspire. "Aspire Football Dreams". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "IAAF: Barshim beats Bondarenko in Brussels with Asian high jump record – IAAF Diamond League |". Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  13. ^ Bull, Red. "Barshim wins Diamond League & breaks new records". Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  14. ^ "IAAF: Athlete profile for Mutaz Essa Barshim". Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Aspire Academy athlete Ashraf El-Seify sets new world junior record in Barcelona". Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  16. ^ "IAAF: Athlete profile for Ashraf Amgad Elseify". Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  17. ^ "IAAF: Report: men's hammer throw – IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014 |". Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Top 10 Soccer Academy | Blog Archive | Qatar Bought World Cup votes with youth academies". 23 April 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Qatar Claims It Did Not Buy World Cup - Football, rugby, FIFA, funny …". 4 February 2013. Archived from the original on 4 February 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "The football 'invaders from Brazil'". CNN. 19 January 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  22. ^ [2][dead link]

External links[edit]