Los Angeles Times

China Youth Football League kicks off with goal of getting more children playing


The first match in the new China Youth Football League kicked off in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, on Sunday with high hopes that the newly establishe­d league can play an important role in developing the game in China, according to officials.

The CYFL, co-organized by China's Ministry of Education, the State General Administra­tion of Sport and the Chinese Football Associatio­n (CFA), is the first football competitio­n open to all youth teams nationwide in China, regardless of their background.

Officials said that the CYFL will play a significan­t role in developing football and physical education in China by improving training methods to enhance the competitiv­e level of Chinese football.

"The Ministry of Education has named some 32,000 primary and middle schools which have football education programs. Currently, more than 50 million teenagers are playing football in China. The new China Youth Football League (CYFL) and the original four-tier league of campus football and the summer camp competitio­n will provide children with a broad platform to play football matches. The CYFL will not only attract more children to play football, but help select talents for the youth football training system. This is one of the most important meanings and values of the CYFL," said Wang Dengfeng, head of the Department of Physical, Health and Arts Education at the Ministry of Education.

Officials also said that the CYFL will play a role in promoting the integrated developmen­t of sports and education in China.

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