Investment in soccer industry increasing in China
The business of soccer is taking off in China.
There are plans to make the game a compulsory part of the national curriculum. By 2017, it is envisaged that 20,000 schools will have new soccer pitches and training facilities, creating 100,000 new players. All of this is part of President Xi Jinping’s aim to turn China into a soccer powerhouse.
Because of a demanding educational system for students, many Chinese parents regard the game as a distraction. Gradually, that is changing. After-school academies, set up by major European clubs and former international soccer players, are springing up. Investment is increasing.
Apart from former high-profile players, major European clubs are moving into the market. Real Madrid, the legendary La Liga club in Spain, has rolled out an academy, so have English Premier League behemoths Chelsea and Liverpool.
A man in his 70s takes a cold shower after a wintry swim in Shichahai Lake in Beijing on Sunday.