The Chinese u-20 team are set to play in the German fourth tier – The Regionalliga Sudwest after an initial agreement was reached between the concerned parties. The move is set to be finalised during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit next month.
The idea is part of the Sino-German football cooperation pact signed in November last year to help develop the game in the Asian country. A statement by the vice-president of the German football Association (DFB), Felix Weidermann revealed that the clubs in the League have unanimously backed the idea. The initial five-year agreement has been will help prepare the squad for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and later in Asian Cups and World Cups in the long run.
Currently the league has 19 members which would mean that one team would always have the weekend off. The introduction of the Chinese team would see the teams play a ‘friendly’ on their ‘off-matchday’. Weidermann revealed that the results of the ‘friendly’ would have no bearing on the league matches as points won’t be awarded. The German teams would receive an approximate compensation of around £13k for the two games played with each side. There are preliminary plans to base the Chinese side out of Heidelberg, south of Frankfurt.
The move is not finalised yet. The clubs in the League will vote on the issue on July 11th, with a decision likely to be made prior to the start of the League at the end of July.
The move will see the Chinese Football Association (CFA) send a set of players each weekend to Germany. It is expected that the team would have a different set of players around a core group each week giving the coaches an opportunity to try out different combinations of teams each week.
This is the latest in a series of measures taken by the CFA and the Chinese Government to improve the standard and popularity of football in the world’s biggest Country. The eventual aim is to win the World Cup and though it is highly unlikely in the foreseeable future, this measure will help develop the Gen-Next of Chinese football. This Gen-Next would be next step in the path towards World Cup glory.
But this is not the first step taken by Chinese authorities to speed up the process of China becoming a footballing Giant on the International stage. The move by the CFA to impose a 100% debt tax on teams in the red came into effect earlier this month. The move means that clubs in debt at the end of the season will contribute the transfer fee paid for a foreign player to the Chinese Football Development Fund. The money raised will then be used to improve the quality of coaches, facilities and merchandise used by young up and coming players.
Football fans and pundits in China have welcomed the move with open arms and hope that the benefits of said moves off the pitch will be seen swiftly on the pitch. It remains to seen how the German clubs vote during that meet on July 11th. If you are a Chinese fan dreaming of a National team with a legitimate chance at World Cup glory, keep your fingers crossed and pray for the best result from the meet.