Football: Why Dutch Legend Cruyff Dreams of Teaching Us All a Lesson When He Opens New Scots Sports University; SAYS FOOTBALL LEGEND JOHANN CRUYFF

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), September 19, 2003 | Go to article overview

Football: Why Dutch Legend Cruyff Dreams of Teaching Us All a Lesson When He Opens New Scots Sports University; SAYS FOOTBALL LEGEND JOHANN CRUYFF


Byline: GRAHAM HUNTER in BARCELONA

FOOTBALL legend Johan Cruyff is poised to start a sports revolution in Scotland.

The former Ajax and Barcelona genius, who won the European Cup three times as a player and once as a coach, yesterday took a giant step closer to setting up a sports education university.

Cruyff has already founded six throughout the world that have saved thousands of men and women from sport's scrapheap by teaching them skills that lead to careers after their days as competitors end.

And after talks with Scottish Sports Minister Frank McAveety in Barcelona the Dutchman revealed that Cruyff Academics International has started searching Scotland for a university, college or school that will become their partner.

The news will spark huge interest and excitement in the sporting and educational communities but Cruyff stressed that his university will specialise in sports education not football coaching.

The six that are already operating are based in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Vigo, La Coruna, Lisbon and Naucalpan, Mexico.

Cruyff, 56, said: ``I have devoted my life to sport, first as a footballer, giving the best of myself, and then as a trainer, attempting to bring out the best in my players.

``I am fully aware that it takes an extraordinary effort to forge out a career in this world.

``Many athletes from different sports who train with vigour and make enormous sacrifices eventually fall by the wayside.

``That is how sport has always and will always be full of careers that in the end lead nowhere. I have seen it too many times.

``In Cruyff Academics International we have staff who prepare sportsmen and women to develop a solid career in the world of sport.

``Mikel Arteta is an example of a footballer who found his way blocked at Barcelona and was intelligent enough and talented enough to better himself as a sportsman and as a human being by changing countries, learning a new language and succeeding. What he did was special.

``Marco Van Basten was a very good student who was already playing European Cup football with Ajax while at school.

``That was the perfect situation but the perfect situation does not occur 99 per cent of the time and not all sportsmen or women will have the resourcefulness and talent of Arteta.

``Mostly they have to drop their sport or drop their education and that's not right.

``Scotland is a passionate country, good at sport and not unlike my home country of Holland or my adopted home in Catalunya.

``You only need to look at how much of Scotland's identity is wrapped up in their most famous club sides, Rangers and Celtic, and the national side to know what football means. But there are great Scots in all sports and therefore the normal rules of sport, both good and bad, apply there.

``It is normal that if you want to do sport you must be young.

``If you are young you need to study and the two are not, traditionally, possible to blend it has almost always been that you must choose one or the other.''

Cruyff first decided that his vision and wealth needed to be applied to solving this problem when, about 10 years ago, he met up with members of the famous Ajax team that won the European Cup in 1971,1972 and 1973 who were without a job, any training or any prospects.

First in Amsterdam, and then in the five other sights he set up a university where sportsmen and women of all disciplines began to use distance learning, specially designed timetables, industry tuition and learning teams to train in sports marketing, merchandising, journalism, management, law and so on. …

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