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Environmental protesters hold up construction on Malaga Academy

Ecologists and residents’ associations joined forces to hold up construction on Malaga’s new Academy this week as they stopped workers from felling trees on land in the Arraijanal district of the city.

The groups hope to bring a stop to the project as they say the land is of great environmental importance, close to the mouth of the Guadalhorce river, and one of Malaga’s, and the Costa del Sol’s, few remaining unurbanised areas.

The protesters arrived on Monday and prevented workers from accessing machinery. However, the half dozen who camped out and remained on the land were removed by police on Wednesday morning.

National and Local Police officers entered the area at around 7.30am and asked the protesters, who put up no resistance, to move on.

Once off the premises, the construction company erected new fencing to prevent further incursions.

The new 4.5-million-euro complex was officially presented last month after seven years of hold-ups after the club finally resolved issues with its foundation, the owners of the project, and signed a deal with a construction company, narrowly avoiding missing the deadline set by Malaga city hall.

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Construction company Bilba are responsible for the construction of the buildings, while sporting specialists will build the three pitches.

The first phase of the project, of which there are three, is under way and while it was hoped the project would be completed in time for the start of preseason in July, the completion date is expected to be closer to the end of the year.

Given the club’s reputation for developing young talent, owner Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani hopes that the Academy investment will give an immediate return. In recent years, the club has made huge profits on former youth players such as Samu Castillejo, Juanmi and Pablo Fornals.

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