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Clairefontaine: Wikis


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National Technical Centre entrance

Le Centre Technique National Fernand Sastre (Fernand Sastre National Technical Centre), commonly referred to as Clairefontaine, is the national association football centre and is one of the nine élite academies of France; only the best players from the Île-de-France région train there. There are eight other élite youth academies in Metropolitan France (Castelmaurou, Châteauroux, Liévin, Dijon, Marseille, Ploufragan, Vichy and Reims) covering the whole territory.

Located 50 km southwest of Paris at Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines, Clairefontaine is arguably the finest football academy in the world. It has a high reputation of producing some of the most gifted French players including Nicolas Anelka, Louis Saha, William Gallas and national team top scorer Thierry Henry.



In 1976, French Football Federation president and longtime official Fernand Sastre desired for the creation of a national centre of football. Six years later, the FFF selected Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines as the site of the center. Construction of the centre commenced in 1985 and lasted nearly three years - the centre opened its doors in January 1988. During the 1998 World Cup, which France hosted, Clairefontaine housed the French national team. That same year, the FFF named the centre in Fernand Sastre's honor. A bust of Sastre was put on the grounds in 2000; also present on the grounds is a statue of the FIFA World Cup.

The best young football players from the Île-de-France region (of which Paris is the capital) stay at Clairefontaine from 13 to 15 for training and development of their technical skills. Most of the players that attend here are often being tracked by established French clubs and go on to have very successful careers. Today, many top local clubs play at the grounds. The academy continues to develop some of France's most promising talents in Hatem Ben Arfa, Vassiriki Abou Diaby and Gabriel Obertan.

Youth development

Youth development at Clairefontaine incorporates many principles on football with their students, such as:

  • Making the player’s movements faster and better
  • Linking movements efficiently and wisely
  • Using the weaker foot
  • Weaknesses in the player’s game
  • Psychological factors (sports personality tests)
  • Medical factors
  • Physical tests (beep test)
  • Technical skills
  • Skill training (juggling the ball, running with the ball, dribbling, kicking, passing and ball control)
  • Tactical (to help the ball carrier, to get the ball back, to offer support, to pass the ball and follow the pass, positioning and the movement into space)


Clairefontaine is an immense football centre, encompassing 56 hectares of land and boasting 66,000 square meters of turfed grounds. It is located in the valley of Chevreuse in the heart of the Rambouillet forest. Clairefontaine has several training grounds, a stadium pitch and even an indoor pitch made of artificial turf. The centre also includes a medical building, gym, fitness room, restaurant and cafeteria. There are even three tennis courts on the grounds.


Famous former students

Name DOB Club before Academy Years at Academy Club after Academy Current Club International
Jérémie Aliadière March 30, 1983 (1983-03-30) (age 26) 1996–1999 England Arsenal England Middlesbrough France France U21
Nicolas Anelka March 14, 1979 (1979-03-14) (age 30) France Trappes FC 1993–1996 France Paris Saint-Germain England Chelsea France France
Habib Bamogo May 8, 1982 (1982-05-08) (age 27) France ASV Châtenay-Malabry 1994–1998 France Montpellier France Nice
Sébastien Bassong July 9, 1986 (1986-07-09) (age 23) France FC Saint-Leu 1999–2002 France Metz England Tottenham Cameroon Cameroon
Habib Bellaïd December 26, 1986 (1986-12-26) (age 23) France Red Star FC 1999–2002 France Strasbourg Germany Eintracht Frankfurt France France U21
Hatem Ben Arfa March 7, 1987 (1987-03-07) (age 22) France AC Boulogne Billencourt 1999–2002 France Lyon France Marseille France France
Jimmy Briand August 7, 1985 (1985-08-07) (age 24) France CSF Brétigny 2000–2001 France Rennes France Rennes France France
Garra Dembélé December 5, 1985 (1985-12-05) (age 24) 1998–2001 France Auxerre Greece Pierikos
Cheik Doukouré September 11, 1992 (1992-09-11) (age 17) 2007–2008 France Lorient France Lorient
Abou Diaby May 11, 1986 (1986-05-11) (age 23) France Red Star FC 1999–2002 France Auxerre England Arsenal France France
Issiar Dia June 8, 1987 (1987-06-08) (age 22) France AC Boulogne Billencourt 1999–2002 France Amiens France Nancy Senegal Senegal
William Gallas August 17, 1977 (1977-08-17) (age 32) France AVG Football 1992–1994 France Caen England Arsenal France France
Hérold Goulon June 12, 1988 (1988-06-12) (age 21) France ES Viry-Châtillon 2002–2005 France Lyon France Le Mans France France U21
Thierry Henry August 17, 1977 (1977-08-17) (age 32) France ES Viry-Châtillon 1992 France Monaco Spain Barcelona France France
Rudy Haddad February 5, 1985 (1985-02-05) (age 24) France Maccabi Paris 1998–2001 France Paris Saint-Germain France Châteauroux
Jacques Faty February 25, 1984 (1984-02-25) (age 25) France CSF Brétigny 1997–2000 France Rennes France Sochaux France France U21
Ricardo Faty August 4, 1986 (1986-08-04) (age 23) France VSG Football 1999–2002 France Strasbourg Italy Roma France France U21
Jirès Kembo Ekoko January 8, 1988 (1988-01-08) (age 22) France AS Bondy 2001–2004 France Rennes France Rennes France France U21
Jonathan Martins January 30, 1986 (1986-01-30) (age 23) France Bayonne 1999–2002 France Lens France Nantes
Blaise Matuidi August 9, 1987 (1987-08-09) (age 22) France CO Vincennois 1999–2002 France Créteil France Saint-Étienne France France U21
Mourad Meghni April 16, 1984 (1984-04-16) (age 25) 1999–2000 Italy Bologna Italy Lazio Algeria Algeria
Gabriel Obertan February 26, 1989 (1989-02-26) (age 20) France Paris Saint-Germain 2004–2005 France Bordeaux England Manchester United France France U21
Grégory Sertic August 5, 1989 (1989-08-05) (age 20) France ES Viry-Châtillon 2003–2005 France Bordeaux France Bordeaux France France U21
Jérôme Rothen March 31, 1978 (1978-03-31) (age 31) France Versailles FC 1991–1994 France Caen Scotland Rangers France France
Louis Saha August 8, 1978 (1978-08-08) (age 31) 1991–1994 France Metz England Everton France France
Moussa Sow January 19, 1986 (1986-01-19) (age 23) 1999–2001 France Mantes France Rennes
Quentin Westberg August 6, 1985 (1985-08-06) (age 24) 2000–2003 France Troyes France Troyes United States USA U20

See also


External links

Coordinates: 48°36′52.07″N 1°55′27.55″E / 48.6144639°N 1.9243194°E / 48.6144639; 1.9243194



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