Albirex Niigata Singapore to found exchange program in Barcelona

The groundbreaking program, which also includes language study and sports journalism training, will field a team in Catalonia's fourth division beginning in 2013
Albirex Niigata Singapore operators Albirex Singapore Pte Ltd on Friday announced the creation of Futbol Club Albirex Niigata Barcelona, an exchange program that will allow young Japanese football players the opportunity to play and study in Spain.

In an announcement posted to the club's official website, the company detailed the goals of the program as well as opened the door for applications to boys and girls who will be 18 years of age or older at the program's start.

The new team, consisting of 20 players will participate in Catalonia's fourth division in the 2013-14 season, with an intention to earn promotion to higher divisions in the future.

"Barcelona have been the benchmark in football for the past 10 years and it was the first choice for this program," club manager Koh Mui Tee told Goal.com.

"We are very hopeful about this venture and believe that it will bring the club to another level. Successful players will be given a chance at Albirex Niigata or Albirex Singapore."

In addition to training and language study, participants will also study sports journalism, serving as match correspondents in the country's top stadiums for Japanese media. The program will be entirely self-funded by tuition and fees, set at €20,000 per player.

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