Will China become the football superpower it wants to be? 

By the way, as I’m English, when I mention football, I mean the one with a round ball.

As Chelsea’s Oscar is rumoured to be the subject of a bid of more than £50 million, will this huge investment result in China becoming the a leading footballing nation by 2050 as president Xi is targeting? 

Over the past few decades, China has thrown billions upon billions at most sectors of its economy as well as FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) around the world, a tactic which so far, has worked for them. China is now the worlds second biggest economy – but will such a tactic be effective in the totally unique football economy? 

President Xi is aiming for China to host and win a World Cup by 2050, the hosting part seems realistic as FIFA’s thirst for football to have an even bigger marketplace will surely reach the one that involves around 1/7th of the worlds population. 

How does he want to do this? Xi wants to create 20,000 schools that specialise in teaching and coaching football by 2020 to produce the first generation of top Chinese football talent.

A strong league is becoming more and more important for a country to win the most watched sporting event on the planet and the CSL (Chinese Super League) is making huge strides to make the league stronger by investing in top talent from around the world. A stronger league standard means young Chinese players learn more and should develop to be a better standard. 

The above graphic (from mailman) shows the significant investment made by CSL clubs, the majority made in the past year, a year which CSL clubs have really pushed for top transfers. So how do they stop it becoming like the English Premier League with too many foreign players stopping young English players moving into the first team? China has created a a quota – only 5 foreign players in any one club and only 4 are allowed on the pitch per team at the same time. The Chinese Football Association must also really underrate Chinese goalkeepers too – no foreign goalkeepers are allowed in the league. 

With some of China’s richest men like the owner of Alibaba wading into their football, the investment looks as if it’s there to stay. What might be the worst thing to happen to the development, however if President Xi, who is a massive football fan, loses his position then a new President may put football down the priority list. 


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