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China – Football Reform Directive

Yesterday (16 March 2015), the Chinese State Council (“CSC“) issued <<中国足球改革总体方案>> a ten-year 50-measure football reform directive to boost the development of football in China, which includes streamlining the Chinese football management system and spinning off the Chinese Football Association (“CFA“) as a separate entity from the General Administration of Sports (“GAS“).  The CFA will become a financially transparent non-governmental non-profit organisation overseeing the development of football and may have the power to reject unreasonable government interventions.  Its management will include football professionals and representatives from the GAS, regional football associations and private football leagues.

A football reform development inter-ministry joint conference comprising of the GAS, the Ministry of Education and other governmental authorities will be established to execute this football reform directive.  The overall reform covers various levels of football, including the national team, professional leagues, professional clubs and recreational football.  The reform goals include qualifying for, hosting and winning the FIFA World Cup.  The reform programme emphasises that Chinese regional governments should promote the popularisation of football at the university, secondary school and primary school levels. 

The CSC plans to step up financial support for football and the national football team.  Its key initiatives include establishing a national sports lottery based on Chinese football league matches, with revenue going towards building two more national football training centres, special football secondary and primary schools and new football fields.  The target is to establish 20,000 special football schools by 2020 and 50,000 special football schools by 2025.   Football will become a compulsory part of physical education in secondary and primary schools.

Mechanisms for enhancing market competition for football broadcasting rights will be established to protect football events’ organisers and participants.   There will be new policies regarding the operations of broadcasting and marketing in relation to football events and regarding the integration of traditional media and new media in football broadcasting in order to increase media market revenue.

For more information, please contact Ann Cheung.

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