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Liu Peng: Chinese football reform must be accelerated in 2016

By Chen Yaping Wednesday, 30 Dec 2015 18:00

Beijing held an important sports conference yesterday, which was attended by sports chiefs from different cities in China. As Liu Peng, director of China’s sports governing body, said, China must accelerate football reform and further develop the industry in 2016. 

Football reform

In terms of football reform, Liu reviewed the substantial progress made this year. The Chinese Football Association (CFA) was separated from the general sports governing body in August, which means the CFA will henceforth have “absolute control” over its internal business. 

The CFA has also begun to introduce more professional practitioners at management level. Notably, Gao Hongbo, a former manager of the China national football team and Li Ruigang, the CEO of the China Media Company have been nominated as CFA executive members. 

Separation of bureaucracy

Liu believes that it is urgent for China to separate sports associations from government organs, because bureaucracy hinders the development of the sports industry.

It is expected the government will allow more room for other participants. In the near future, more local sports organizations will be able to operate independently.

Local governments are being urged to promote the popularization of teenage training and amateur football. The Ministry of Education has made football a compulsory part of physical education, and promised to help set up more football academies. 

Expansion of the Chinese sports industry

Chinese conglomerates have entered into the sports market. They have brought big money as well as the emergence of new sports-centric companies like Wanda Sports, Le Sports and Lander Sports.  

Liu stated that China achieved a sports industry worth RMB 1.36 trillion yuan in 2014. Last year the State Council made an appeal for China to strive for a sports industry valued at RMB 5 trillion by 2025. 

Though the goal is ambitious, the Chinese sports market has the potential in that: 

-more Chinese tycoons have acquired substantial broadcasting rights, stakes in foreign sports companies and even football clubs

-more Chinese cities have started their own marathon events

-more venue operators like AEG have helped many local governments to build sports venues and stadiums 

-more foreign pro coaches have shown a passion for Chinese youth training. 

Proofread by John Devlin

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