Hearts reveal first club involved in North American initiative

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Hearts have confirmed that Utah-based Forza Futbol Club will be the first partner in their Global Youth Partner Programme.

Chairwoman Ann Budge revealed at yesterday’s annual general meeting that they will be linking up with some North American clubs in a venture intended to enhance the club both in a footballing and commercial capacity.

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It will involve Hearts sharing their expertise in running an academy in return for the opportunity to get access to burgeoning young players from across the Atlantic, as well as potential sponsors as the club look to grow their brand globally.

Forza are the first club on board with the scheme and Budge said: “The interest in this initiative has been fantastic. The clubs with whom we have spoken have been impressed with the number of young players in our squad and with investment we are making to build and nurture them.

“Youth is a fundamental cornerstone of our business model and others are keen to learn from us. North America is an obvious place to start, but we may look to expand to other areas as we move forward.”

Budge also confirmed yesterday that Hearts Ladies have been fully integrated into the club. It will involve six-figure investment from Hearts year on year, with Budge saying it was “the right thing to do”.