Troussier: Soccer is for all people, not just fans

By Tang zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-08 07:31
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BEIJING - The Chinese Football Association (CFA) and the referees are often targeted by the media and fans for the game's ills in this country.

However, in the eyes of Philippe Troussier, Chinese people should stop the blame game and form a new soccer environment and work to make it better.

"What is a soccer environment? It is one that means we can feel the environment of soccer on the street," he said. "Is soccer a great event in China? I'm not sure."

After watching some national team and Super League games, the 56-year-old Frenchman was surprised by the poor attendances.

"I was in Wuhan to see the match Uruguay against China, and China lost 4-0. I think (there is) nobody in the stadium, it was just after the World Cup in October," he said.

According to Troussier, in Europe, 80 percent of attendees go to the stadium just because they want to attend a match, like going to a movie or a show. But in China, people only go to the stadiums if they are fans.

"Soccer is not only for fans. It's not because you have the same jersey as your team that you have to go to the stadium. The stadium should be open for people want to attend (a show), not just fans," he said. "But in China, the people who go to games are 100 percent fans, not people coming from outside.

"They (the league) should ask why? We have to change that and provide the opportunity for many people to go to games, not just fans."

To attract more people into stadiums requires the collective efforts of the CFA and the clubs, Troussier said.

"The stadium should like a theater, this is the criteria to judge Japanese football, they have very good organization," he said.

"If the stadium is nice, I can put my car in the parking lot, I can go with my kids, my wife, and I can have a drink, see a very good spectacle for two hours I would want to go (to a game) every time. "But if I have no car (in China), I think people will throw eggs at me, insult me if it's not safe, I won't want to go back," he said.

Troussier acknowledged Guangzhou Evergrande's success in bringing people back to the game but said it was a tricky situation for Guangzhou to buy a high-class lineup without a solid soccer foundation.

"Of course, Guangzhou spent a lot of money, but that money was used to awaken the dreams of the people," he said. "If you go to Guangzhou, the stadium is full and everybody has a dream. They want to become the champion, and every team wants to beat Guangzhou and that is good ... this is an important process in awakening Chinese soccer," he said.

China Daily

(China Daily 06/08/2011 page22)