In­vest­ment in soc­cer in­dus­try in­creas­ing in China

China Daily (Canada) - - NEWS CAPSULE -

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.

WEI XIAOHAO / CHINA DAILY

A man in his 70s takes a cold shower af­ter a win­try swim in Shicha­hai Lake in Beijing on Sun­day.

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