China aims to be­come soc­cer pow­er­house by 2050

China Daily (Canada) - - NEWS CAPSULE -

With China still strug­gling to qual­ify for the 2018 World Cup, the country has set its goal on trans­form­ing into a worldlead­ing soc­cer power by 2050 through youth pro­mo­tion and league de­vel­op­ment.

A long-term de­vel­op­ment out­line was un­veiled on Mon­day aimed at de­vel­op­ing China into a dom­i­nant power in Asia by 2030 and a world elite com­peti­tor two decades later.

The goals echo Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s ex­pressed wishes of last March to see China qual­ify, host and even­tu­ally win the pres­ti­gious World Cup.

While China did ad­vance to the fi­nal Asian qual­i­fy­ing round for the 2018 World Cup in Rus­sia, team China, which qual­i­fied for first World Cup in 2002, seems un­likely to progress this time around as an un­der­dog in the 12-team pool, where only four spots are of­fered.

The Chi­nese Su­per League, the country’s top pro­fes­sional league, lured a high-pro­file le­gion of for­eign play­ers with a to­tal of $373 mil­lion in trans­fer fees to play in its 2016 sea­son.

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