Cambridge ESOL, part of the University of Cambridge and the world's leading provider of language assessment, has announced that four players representing Chelsea Football Club's Academy have successfully passed its Preliminary English Test (PET), two of whom have achieved merit status.

Foreign players at the Academy are also given the opportunity to prepare for the internationally-recognised Key English Test (KET) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exams, as appropriate.

Gerry Harvey, education and welfare officer for Chelsea FC Academy, explains: 'It's extremely important that all of our boys feel part of the club.

'We recognise that leaving home as young as 16 can be an extremely daunting experience, and can be further intensified when they are coming from foreign countries such as Germany, Spain and the Netherlands and find it a challenge to speak English.The education programme we run is a key ingredient to our youth development programme and we strive to nurture our players to the highest quality, both on and off the pitch.'

Whether they are plucked from the local talent pool or brought in from other European countries, Chelsea FC offer young players a structured education programme which will run for two years and will have a minimum of ten hours a week teaching time.This provides the youth players with the opportunity to enhance their educational skills and secure certified qualifications, including GCSEs, A levels and BTECs.

In addition, Chelsea FC also enables our foreign players to increase their level of English and develop across the four key skill areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Suzi Raymond, education manager for Chelsea FC continues: 'All of the boys who have passed exams recently have worked extremely hard, including the foreign players who have gained their PET qualification. We are proud of the multi-cultural and international environment that exists within the club as every player truly feels part of the team and can communicate effectively, both on a professional and social level.'

Mike Milanovic, CEO for Cambridge ESOL comments: 'We are pleased to be able to offer examinations which Chelsea FC can utilise and help to motivate their young players. PET is recognised throughout Europe as an important benchmark for learners of English. It means that they have got the skills they need to be able to use English on a day-to-day basis. These players will not need to take the exam again as it's valid for life and also provides them with an opportunity to identify their strengths and weaknesses, giving them a clear pathway to higher qualifications.'