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Real escape with hope of progress

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By ESPN Staff

Chelsea announce youth deal with Disney

Chelsea have agreed a youth football partnership with the Walt Disney Company.

The Premier League club, currently on a pre-season tour of the United States, confirmed an initial four-year deal immediately prior to this morning's Disney Friendship Cup match with Club America.

Under the terms of the agreement, Chelsea become the official professional soccer club of Disney's Wide World of Sports and presenting sponsor of the Disney Soccer Showcase Series.

The Blues' business affairs director Paul Smith said on the club's official website: 'This partnership is groundbreaking for both sides.

'Chelsea is delighted to be partnering with Disney on this second project, following the sponsorship of today's game.

'Chelsea is committed to assisting and promoting all levels of soccer in the United States and youth soccer is a massive part of that. Disney is at the forefront of that movement in the US on various levels.'

Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex is a top youth football event destination, while Disney's Soccer Showcase is the number one youth football event in the United States.

Chelsea will also have significant presence at other Disney-created football events through coaching and player clinics.

These will be run under the guidance of Chelsea's Football in the Community scheme.

An annual educational exchange program will also be created where at least one Chelsea academy team will visit and compete at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

In exchange, the club will bring a winning team from a selected Disney soccer tournament to be their guests at a Chelsea match and train at their academy.

The announcement is the first stage in a possible broader partnership between the two companies.

Further talks are planned to see how Chelsea can work with the various entertainment and media brands within Disney.