Wanda to seal deal with CFA

By Tang Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-07-01 08:11
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BEIJING - Chinese company Dalian Wanda will sign a comprehensive deal with the Chinese Football Association (CFA) at a ceremony at the Beijing Institute of Technology on Sunday, Chinese media has reported.

The sides will sign an agreement on the "Future Star" program, which aims to provide young Chinese players with opportunities to play overseas. An Under-15 match featuring teams from North China and South China is also on the agenda to mark the launch of the country's first nationwide soccer league for teenagers, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

According to the reports, besides the investment in teenage development, Dalian Wanda, whose assets are estimated at 140 billion yuan ($21.6 billion) through its ventures in commercial properties, luxury hotels, chain stores and tourism, will also give the CFA considerable financial support in an effort to invite world-class foreign consultants for the national team and also contribute 10 million yuan per year to improve the standard of refereeing.

Also, the company will sponsor the Chinese Super League (CSL) to be called the name of "Dalian Wanda Plaza CSL" - from this season to 2013, with a sponsorship fee of 65 million yuan each season.

Dalian Wanda's involvement is widely regarded as a new start for Chinese soccer as the company's chairman, Wang Jianlin, spent a successful time in Chinese soccer from 1994 to 1998, when he built Dalian Wanda into a soccer powerhouse in the country's top-tier league. His return this year reported to have won support from state authorities.

The CFA is also nearing a broadcasting agreement with CCTV-IMG, a joint venture of Chinese Central Television (CCTV) and IMG Worldwide, according to reports.

As a result of domestic match-fixing scandals, CCTV stopped broadcasting games of the 2011 Super League on its sports channel due to the negative image of Chinese soccer.

The CFA's potential deal with CCTV-IMG means the domestic league would again receive nationwide coverage.

CCTV-IMG has already promoted several sports events in China, including the China Open (tennis), the Chengdu ATP event, Stars on Ice, the Lake Malaren Masters (golf) and the Asian Tour (golf).

China Daily

(China Daily 07/01/2011 page23)