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Villa backs sports courses

A BIRMINGHAM college is teaming up with Aston Villa FC to give a head start to sports-minded students.

Matthew Boulton College's Academy of Sporting Excellence will offer places for up to 100 school-leavers with poor qualifications and mature students looking for a career in the world of sport. The academy, whic has the backing of FA Cup finalists Aston Villa, will offer 12-week courses in sports coaching, exercise and fitness studies and personal skills development.

Villa will sponsor the kit for the college's women's football team and has promised to hold coaching sessions with professionals from the club.

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