Young Chinese trainees left kicking their heels after Luis Figo soccer academy shuts without explanation

Parents say calls have gone unanswered, coaches have left and field gates have been locked for two months

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 December, 2017, 3:26pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 5:55pm

A Chinese soccer academy co-founded by legendary Portuguese player Luis Figo has shut without explanation, leaving its young trainees in the lurch.

The Winning League Figo Football Academy in Chengdu, Sichuan province, had not held training sessions for two months and staff had not been seen on the premises, Chengdu Economic Daily reported.

After successful launches in Shanghai and Beijing, the Chengdu branch opened in June 2015 following a deal between Figo and the Chengdu Football Association.

The franchise has 14 branches across China, employing 135 Portuguese and Chinese coaches.

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“We signed [our child] up because we thought there would be foreign coaches and it’s named after Figo,” one disappointed parent, surnamed Wang, was quoted as saying.

Wang said that when she took her son for his second class in September, the gates to the training field were locked and the coach was nowhere to be found.

Parents said their calls had gone unanswered and fees had not been refunded.

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“I think [the academy] is facing financial difficulties, like many of the branches in China,” an unidentified staff member was quoted as saying. He also said the owner of the Chengdu franchise, who was not named, was trying to attract new investment to reopen the school.

The report said the academy’s on-site office was being used by another company.