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AFL scores Becks' new football academy

David Beckham’s high-profile new football academy in Brazil is to be designed by AFL, the AJ can exclusively reveal.

The 32-year-old former England captain recently announced plans for his third football centre in the coastal resort of Natal, following his success with similar branded academies in Greenwich, south-east London, and Los Angeles.

According to AFL, which missed out on designing Liverpool’s new Anfield stadium just before Christmas, the facility aimed at local children will be ‘substantially larger’ than the existing London centre.

Early plans for the complex, in the north-eastern corner of the South American country, include indoor pitches, a 10,000-seat stadium and a 400-bedroom hotel.

AFL creative director Phil Osborne said: ‘I have met a few professional footballers and I was pleasantly surprised by his approach.

‘He is really pushing the project in terms of the quality of the buildings. The facility will have to fit into the local green agenda.’

As well as becoming home to the local football team, the complex will hold training camps and host a range of other sporting events.

The Manchester and Liverpool-based practice landed the project, Osborne believes, after academy representatives visited AFL’s Chelsea training ground at Cobham, Surrey.

AFL is also planning a karting facility for Brazilian motor legend Rubens Barrichello on a neighbouring plot, as part of the wider, sports-led masterplan for the area.

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