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Soccer reform goal more than national success

By Li Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2015-03-04 07:50

China should learn from the United Kingdom's experience in developing soccer, Chinese President Xi Jinping told visiting Prince William on Monday. The British prince said he would welcome more Chinese players joining the Premier League.

Xi has openly expressed his interest in soccer, as well as his desire to see a stronger national soccer team, several times in recent years. The Chinese national team's ranking in the world, according to the International Federation of Association Football, has fallen from around 50th in 1990s to about 100th now. Even with a "golden generation" of players, China lost all three group matches without scoring a goal in its only appearance in the World Cup finals, the tournament jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea in 2002.

Last week, the top central leading body for reform, chaired by Xi himself, passed a guideline calling for soccer to be promoted in schools and market reform of the professional league. With China's top leader a soccer fan, it is to be hoped the reform plan can usher Chinese soccer into a new phase of development.

Soccer reform goal more than national success

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