The GFF Football Academy in the village of Rukhi (Municipality of Zugdidi) was officially inaugurated on 12 February.
The opening ceremony was attended by GFF President Levan Kobiashvili, General Secretary David Mujiri, First Vice-President Kakha Chumburidze, as well as the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia and local government officials.
The guests viewed the new facilities, spoke to the academy footballers and wished them success. Addressing the youngsters, the head of the Georgian government emphasised the importance of sport and healthy lifestyle.
Following the visit, the GFF representatives spoke to the media:
💬 “I am delighted to have completed this wonderful project. The Rukhi Academy will mainly serve children from the Samegrelo region. Local amateur and women’s football clubs will also be able to use the facilities. We will be supporting this process.
The project was co-funded by GFF and grants obtained from FIFA and UEFA. No public funds were used to build the academy. GFF will also bear all expenses for the academy footballers. Here we also have a state school where the players will receive education. This is very important for GFF. Naturally, we will be delighted if all these youngsters become professional footballers, but we also aim to ensure that young people in Georgia practice healthy lifestyle and receive education” – Levan Kobiashvili, GFF President.
💬 “GFF continues to implement its regional academy development project. You can all see the quality of the new facilities in Rukhi, which will serve the Samegrelo region. At this stage, the Rukhi Academy will be home to 15 and 16 year old players who have been picked through a selection process. The players will live, train and receive both footballing and academic education here on site” – Kakha Chumburidze, GFF First Vice-President.
The facilities include one grass pitch and two artificial pitches, a modern floodlight system, stands, and a residential complex that can house up to 50 people. The residential building includes a dining hall, fitness room, changing rooms, laundry, referees’ room and medical room.
The academy is currently home to 15 and 16 year old players from the Samegrelo region who have undergone a selection process. Around 40 players will be admitted to the academy for the new academic year.
Apart from the academy teams, the new facilities can be used by the local football schools, as well as amateur and women’s football clubs. The construction process in the village of Rukhi, which is located close to the line of occupation, began in May 2019.
The project was implemented by GFF with financial support from the FIFA Forward and UEFA HatTrick programmes. The total cost of the project was GEL 6 million. The land was given to GFF by the local authorities specifically for the purpose of building a football academy.
Similar to the other GFF academies, operation of the Rukhi project is fully funded by the Federation, meaning that academy players can live and obtain footballing and academic education here free of charge.
GFF academies are already operating in the village of Gvimbalauri (Municipality of Lanchkhuti), as well as Lagodekhi and Rustavi. Construction of the new academy in Kutaisi is currently ongoing.