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Gillett impressed by Saudi visit over academies

Liverpool co-owner George Gillett claims to have been ''pleasantly surprised'' on a visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss new club academies.

Liverpool recently announced they had reached an agreement with Prince Faisal bin Fahad bin Abdulla of Saudi Arabia to set up a number of academies in the Middle East.

Prince Faisal's F6 investment company have been linked with buying a stake in Liverpool but Gillett spoke only of opportunities to work together today.

''The facilities here are as nice as any I have seen in the world,'' the American said on Sky Sports News. ''I was very pleasantly surprised. I think there are some wonderful opportunities for us to work together.

''We have an appreciation for the respect the government of Saudi Arabia has for the youth of this country. They are committed to both facilities and programmes to bring youth to a higher level in all sports, but particularly in football.''

Prince Faisal also stressed the purpose of the visit was to discuss sporting development in the country and region.

He said: ''Definitely we look forward to any kind of venture between clubs in Saudi Arabia and Liverpool in transfer of knowledge, experience and implementation of Liverpool academy and philosophy in Saudi Arabia. 'This is the main thing and this is what we are discussing.''

However, he spoke only in general terms when asked about the possibility of investing in clubs.

''We have an eye for many opportunities in Europe, Asia, North America, South America,'' he said.

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