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Kids devastated' at football loss

PUBLISHED: 14:17 03 December 2009 | UPDATED: 17:24 25 August 2010

YOUNGSTERS will be devastated at the closure David Beckham Academy according to the manager of a special needs football league. Bosses at the DBA claim the centre next to the O2 on Greenwich s Peninsula, which opened in 2005, is likely to close at the e

YOUNGSTERS will be devastated at the closure David Beckham Academy according to the manager of a special needs football league.

Bosses at the DBA claim the centre next to the O2 on Greenwich's Peninsula, which opened in 2005, is likely to close at the end of the year even though the lease does not run out until next year.

Now Beckham and senior coaching staff are developing plans to launch a coaching model, which can help children across Britain and internationally.

The LA Galaxy star was often seen at the centre, which boasts two full-size artificial pitches, which he opened in January last year alongside Gordon Brown and senior ministers. South London Special League Project Manager Sharon Brokenshire said the closure will be a catastrophe for the area, adding: "It was a venue with a lot of panache and the kids who go there think David Beckham is a hero.

"The kids will be devastated. It is a great shame and really sad for the area. It brings an awful lot of kudos to Greenwich and the Peninsula."

A spokesperson said the decision to close the Academy is more about the direction that Beckham wants to take youth soccer initiatives rather than profitability of the centre's profitability.

They added: "The DBA has been hugely successful with more than 80,000 children benefiting from the country's best coaching and the world-class facilities provided at the academy, many of those places given at no cost to the child or school.

"The aim now is to broaden its outreach giving an opportunity for considerably more children to experience the Academy across the country and around the world.

"As was always the intention, the building will be used as a training venue for the 2012 London Games."

A spokesperson for AEG, which owns the site as well as the O2, said the company is currently looking into what to do with the venue before it starts being used as an Olympic training ground.

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