Chinese Government Unveils New Soccer Development Programme

December 13, 2012

The Chinese government will take a more hands-on approach to soccer because of the nation’s prolonged lack of achievement in the sport.

Five cities-Qingdao, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Dalian and Wuhan- have been chosen by the General Administration of Sport of China and the Chinese Football Association (CFA) for a pilot development programme.

According to CFA Vice-President Wei Di, his association is now working with the five cities to achieve specific targets.

Those targets include the improvement of the local soccer associations, training, competition and evaluation systems and the policy-making of the local sports authorities.

“The pilot cities had to have a strong soccer history, a considerable foundation, the support of local government and an energetic local association,” Wei said.

“We reached specific agreements with these five cities after a lot of research and discussion,” he said. “We expect to advance the programme to the provincial level next year.”

Wei said the CFA has allocated US$1.6 million to the five cities this year to help them organise more soccer activities and encourage retired players get involved in coaching. The CFA said it is likely to provide more funds in 2013 for venue construction and renovation.

The CFA’s decision to its resources with local soccer bodies and sports bureaus could be a significant step forward in giving more associations a say in the sport’s decision-making process.

“The CFA is changing the way it works. Instead of sending instructions to local associations, it is bringing all parties together to discuss how to improve Chinese soccer and boost the sport’s development,” said Gu Jianming, President of the Chengdu Football Association. “I think this is a major change for the CFA.

“As the head of a local association, my responsibility is to find out how to popularise soccer around the city, and to serve people and fulfill their needs in participating in the sport. The pilot cities will benefit (from the program), and the CFA will support them by supplying policies, capital and talent evaluation (of players, coaches and referees).”{jcomments on}