The past couple of months have seen a huge financial investment by football clubs in China to recruit star players from English, European as well as south American football leagues. In less than a year, Chinese clubs have splashed out over $400 million on the purchase of players.The football world is curious as to why China would all of a sudden inject this much investment in their football industry.
This article seeks to explore some of the reasons why China is angling to become a football powerhouse.
Football is part of the Chinese government’s growth agenda
China successfully organized the 2008 Olympics which were held in Beijing and this helped put this nation on the global sporting radar as the Olympics is one of the highest ranking sporting events in the world. This was a huge achievement for the Chinese government and it comes as no surprise to see China looking to build on the success of the Olympic games by making an entry into football with the hope of being able to bid for the rights to host the world cup which is undoubtedly the biggest sporting event on earth. The fact that the current Chinese president is an ardent football supporter makes this plan more obvious.
China is looking to market its own football industry
It’s no secret that the Chinese people prefer following foreign leagues such as the English and Spanish leagues as opposed to their own local leagues. To the Chinese government, this is revenue being lost to other countries and its revenue they would much rather keep in China. Deliberately targeting renowned football stars and bringing them to play in the domestic league is meant to raise the interest of the Chinese people in their domestic league as well as use these internationally experience players to strengthen Chinese clubs and turn them into Asian powerhouses as a start. The overall long term plan would be to make them be able to compete with European elites.
It’s still too early to tell whether this football project by China will be successful but early evidence indicates that the plan is off to a bumpy start. Most of the players who have made big money moves to the Chinese league have had a difficult time adapting.Sceptics however are not holding their breath and strongly believe that this is a failed project.