FIFA’s ex­per­tise will help grow the game

China Daily (Canada) - - SPORTS - By SUN XIAOCHEN sunx­i­aochen@chi­nadaily.

FIFA has es­tab­lished a spe­cial task force to pro­vide train­ing, man­age­ment and youth de­vel­op­ment to bol­ster Chi­nese soc­cer.

Fol­low­ing up on a pro­posal made by FIFA pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino dur­ing his visit to China in June 2017, the soc­cer’s world gov­ern­ing body on Wed­nes­day sent a spe­cial task force led by deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral Zvon­imir Boban to Bei­jing for a two-day work­shop to dis­cuss col­lab­o­ra­tive plans with the Chi­nese Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

To sup­port the na­tional re­form aimed at de­vel­op­ing China into a soc­cer pow­er­house by 2050, FIFA is plan­ning a co­op­er­a­tion frame­work for po­ten­tial in­vest­ment.

Boban said the frame­work is ex­pected to be com­pleted in Fe­bru­ary.

“Now we are col­lab­o­rat­ing very well and FIFA is in­putting all avail­able ef­fort and in­vest­ments to sup­port the CFA to draw guide­lines for in­ter­me­di­ate and long-term goals,” Boban said af­ter meet­ing Du Zhao­cai, sec­re­tary of the CFA’s Party com­mit­tee.

Du, who also serves as as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sport of China, said the CFA “ap­pre­ci­ates the ex­per­tise and re­sources FIFA of­fers” and ex­pects to strengthen co­op­er­a­tion through fu­ture ex­changes.

Boban, a for­mer AC Mi­lan mid­fielder who cap­tained Croa­tia to third place at the 1998 World Cup, said soc­cer suc­cess takes time to build — es­pe­cially in China.

“Europe has played foot­ball for more than 100 years and here you just started about 10 years ago. It’s al­ready achiev­ing re­sults, but no­body can buy time. You have to stay pa­tient,” said the 49-year-old.

To re­al­ize the coun­try’s dream of even­tu­ally host­ing and win­ning the World Cup, China’s State Coun­cil is­sued a soc­cer re­form plan in early 2015 with high­lights on man­age­ment op­ti­miza­tion, youth par­tic­i­pa­tion and na­tional team sup­port.

Stim­u­lated by the re­form, in­vest­ment in the pro­fes­sional league from the coun­try’s busi­ness sec­tor has soared to make in­ter­na­tional head­lines with huge spend­ing on big­name for­eign im­ports to the Chi­nese Su­per League.

To curb ir­ra­tional in­vest­ments, the CFA has im­ple­mented manda­tory rules to limit club spend­ing in the trans­fer mar­ket while en­cour­ag­ing the use of lo­cal un­der23 play­ers in league games.

“It’s about de­vel­op­ing a strat­egy on what do you want from the game,” said Boban.

“If you want to build your league, you have to in­vest in bring­ing for­eign play­ers and learn­ing from them. It’s noth­ing wrong.

“But at the same time you have to de­velop your foot­ball equally to avoid mis­takes such as over­in­vest­ing. It’s a nor­mal process that takes time. You will find the bal­ance.”

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