China is part of the top 10 fastest growing economies. This growth is also affecting football. Let me share with you what I believe are the 3 most striking examples of China football growth.
A commercial real estate company has unveiled a massive investment deal in Chinese football to reverse the country’s flagging fortunes on the international stage. Chinese Football Association officials announced a three-year, $77.3 million deal with Dalian Wanda focused on youth development.
“The progress of Chinese soccer depends on the emergence of high-level young players,” CFA head Wei Di was quoted by state media.” China’s negligence in developing teenage soccer directly led to the slump in the sport in recent years.
China’s men reached their first and only FIFA World Cup in 2002. Its women were quarterfinalists at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups but are nowhere to be found at the finals now underway in Germany, having failed to qualify for the first time ever.
Disappointment for CFA officials resurfaced two weeks ago when the men lost out on a spot in the football tournament at next year’s London Olympics. China carried a 0-1 deficit into their June 23 game against Oman but levelled the aggregate late on.
After an apparent stoppage-time winner was waved off due to a linesman’s intervention, Oman netted three goals in extra time to ensure the Chinese would be watching the Olympics from home. Jianlin Wang, chairman of Dalian Wanda, is hoping to radically alter Chinese football’s standing worldwide by investing in its development. [Source: Leaders in Football]
2/ Dario Conca at Guangzhou Evergrande
The American Dream is dead, now comes the Chinese Dream.
Indeed, China is more than a dream for Dario Conca, it is a beautiful reality. The Argentine player, voted best player in the Brazilian league last season with Fluminense, has just signed a three-year contract with the club Guangzhou Evergrande in China.
Incredibly, the player will receive an annual salary of € 10.6 million, becoming the fifth highest paid player in world football, behind Cristiano Ronaldo (12) , Rooney (11.5), Messi (11) and Yaya Toure (10.8). And we are talking here of a player who has never been selected for the national team.
Liu Yongzhuo, the financier of the club, said he made a superb operation involving Conca. After the Russians and the Qataris, now the Chinese begin to spend excessively in the panorama of world football. [Source: The China Times]
3/ Chinese football receives €53m sponsorship boost from Dalian Wanda
The Chinese national team will have the funds to pursue to top foreign coach after real estate giants Dalian Wanda agreed a massive three-year deal to sponsor the game in China.
Football in China has received a major boost after real estate giant Dalian Wanda announced a €53m ($77.3 million) sponsorship deal with the Chinese Football Association (CFA).
The announcement, ends Dalian Wanda’s 11-year divorce from football in China after the real estate company pulled its money out of the game in 2000 following claims of corruption.
Dalian Wanda’s three-year €53m sponsorship covers the Chinese Super League (CSL), Chinese youth league, referee training and assessment as well as a reported commitment to signing a top foreign coach for the national team along with an overseas program for talented teenage players.
“The progress of Chinese football depends on the emergence of high-level young players,” the China Daily quoted Wei Di, who took over as head of the CFA last year, as saying.
“China’s negligence in developing teenage football directly lead to the slump in the sport in recent years.”
Wanda president Wang Jianlin had vowed to never have anything to do with Chinese football in 2000 after the club he owned controversially lost the 1998 Chinese FA Cup semi-final.
However, Wang told reporters after 11 years away from the game he was desperate to be involved again.
“My love for soccer is still burning,” said Wang. “I want to do something to help the Chinese people realise their dreams.”
The announcement comes after former Chinese football chief Nan Yong and several other association officials were arrested in January last year after an investigation into corruption.
The sponsorship deal is a major boost for the CSL which started the 2011 season without a major [Source: Goal.com]
With its fast growing economy, China sends the strong signal that it will be fully part of the football world. A couple of months ago, I had published an article about Nike sponsoring the Chinese Football League. More developments are to come, so stay tuned!