Opinion / From the Press

Bitter truth about Chinese soccer

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-08 09:19

Every Chinese soccer fan dreams of seeing the Chinese men's team compete in the World Cup. Although China played in the 2002 World Cup, jointly hosted by South Korea and Japan, it could not proceed beyond the group stage, breaking Chinese soccer fans' hearts. To understand the state that Chinese soccer is in, we need to take a deeper look, says an article on Excerpts:

China is ranked 11th in Asia, which is not at all encouraging considering that the standard of soccer in Asia is well below that played in Europe and South America. For example, none of the Asian teams have managed to proceed to the round of 16 in the ongoing World Cup. So even if China becomes the best team in Asia, it cannot necessarily match the Europeans and South Americans.

Moreover, although China is a country of 1.3 billion people, it has only a few thousand professional soccer players. In contrast, every community in Cologne, a city in Germany, has professional footballers to train young children and cultivate in them the love of soccer.

There is also need to see the World Cup as a global commercial gala, instead of a battlefield where countries prove their superiority. It is a commercial event because FIFA can make about �700 million ($951.51 million) every single day during the ongoing World Cup. Therefore, there is no reason to consider the World Cup only as a sports event.

More importantly, the Chinese men's soccer team can compete at the highest level only when ordinary Chinese people start playing it regularly and encourage children to take up the sport seriously.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily 07/08/2014 page9)

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