eIt is well known that China is also aiming for world-class football. However, unlike many other sectors of the economy, the Chinese are only deputies in the dominant sports activity in the world. For years, the Beijing government has been encouraging local banks, businesses and businesses to invest in the national league.
But the Chinese elite class is still largely a loss business that devours huge sums, but has gained little popularity. Foreigners, especially the English Premier League and the Spanish Liga, are still popular with the Chinese. Local football is more for hard experts.
This is notably due to the lack of competitiveness of Chinese kickers on the international scene. It was not until the spring that the national team was bitterly disappointed when it pulled out of the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup. Although the team lost to Iran with one of the favorites of the tournament, missing the semi-final defeat was a setback for the high expectations of the leaders in Beijing.
Xi's "dream" should come true
National coach, Marcelo Lippi, stopped first, but returned to the position in May. Against a very sumptuous salary, of course. More than 20 million euros a year are mentioned. The 71-year-old coach, who became world champion in 2006 with Italy, will contribute to China's next big goal: to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
This would be an extremely important success for the sports nation, President Xi Jinping is considered an accomplished fan of football. Since the entry into office of the Secretary General of the Communist Party in 2012, football is an integral part of the party's political ideology.
Xi, who is known in China as a fan of Beijing Guoan in the 1990s, went by bicycle to the Beijing workers' stadium and, like all the other supporters, rented a ticket, launched the big economic departure planned for football in the country. Xi's "Chinese dream" should also be realized on the green grass.
Since then, hundreds of new junior academies have emerged, football is now part of the public school program and thousands of football coaches have been recruited to advance their footballing heritage. Up to here with modest success.
English and Brazilian players should help
Given that the qualifications for the world tournament of 2022 alone with local players will probably not succeed, the superpower now leads a new strategy: it bivouacs legionnaires talented. The appointment of Brazilian native Elkeson could only be the beginning of this new policy of the Chinese Football Federation (CFA). "We want to go to Qatar," said Chen Xuyuan, the new president of the association, to the Xinhua official news agency.
Mr. Chen said that it was currently players with and without Chinese roots. Other Brazilian strikers who make their living in the Chinese Super League (CSL), as well as former English national junior player Tyias Browning. To be eligible for naturalization, a player must live in the country for at least five years. Overall, no more than nine players are naturalized, as the procedure calls it. Elkeson was the first of this team.
The Chinese association takes risks. The national team does not have the best reputation in the country anyway, the naturalization of foreign players could further reduce the identification of Chinese fans with their team. After all, national self-reliance is also part of the Chinese self-image in football.
Cooled after the tournament
The Brazilian Elkeson, unlike Browning, who has a British father and mother from China, is not of Chinese origin. Aged 30, he has been a member of the CSL since 2012, but he first had to ask to be released from Brazilian citizenship and give himself a new name before becoming Chinese. This is why Elkeson de Oliveira Cardoso now calls Ai Kesen.
Apparently, Chen is now subordinating everything to the government's goals. He had read the reform plan "again and again", he assured during his presentation as the new president of the Chinese Football Federation. Chen is under pressure, which is already the result of his office.
The state leadership officially launched its ambitions in 2015 with a major football reform plan. Concrete steps are set, including participation in the 2022 World Cup. By 2030, China is expected to become the host of the World Cup and, at the latest, be one of the main countries of the world of football.
Chen considers the separation of the federation and the league from the European model as a decisive step to achieve this. "The CSL and the lower leagues have been growing very fast in recent years, but our professional football is still in crisis."
Chen's predecessors are reluctant to hear that more than a clear vocabulary; The inability to achieve the goals set by the government can have serious consequences in China. This had to learn after the Asian Cup and Feng Xiaoting. The captain of the national team and the deputy captain, among others, accused the defeat against Iran. In his national club, Guangzhou Evergrande, the defense specialist was back on the reserve.