The central government has unveiled plans for developing China into an international soccer powerhouse by 2050.
The plan published on April 11 was drawn up by an inter-ministry office under the cabinet, the National Development and Reform Commission and two other central government agencies, and contains both medium- and long-term goals.
Under the plans, the government wants the men’s team to develop into a top Asian squad by 2030 and for the women’s team to become a world-class side by that year.
“We’ll make all-out efforts to reach the goal of developing China into a top-tier soccer power between 2031 and 2050 to realize the Chinese people’s soccer dream and to make our due contributions to the sport,” the government said in the document.
The country’s leaders, including President Xi Jinping and former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping (1904-97), made it known they liked the game and wanted to see China become a soccer power.
During a visit to Britain in October, Xi toured the City Football Academy, which is linked to the Manchester City Football Club. A photo taken by Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero showing him with Xi and British Prime Minister David Cameron went viral in China.
China’s soccer dreams have been troubled by scandals involving match-fixing and bribery. Its teams have also suffered crushing defeats in their quests for a berth in the World Cup finals over the past decade. Read More