World football’s governing body Fifa has today (Friday) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese Football Association (CFA) aimed at boosting the development potential of the sport in the country.
Fifa said the MoU will see it work with the CFA to enhance football structures, management and technical aspects related to football in China. The agreement focuses on five key areas – governance structure of the CFA, technical development at all levels, refereeing, professionalisation of football and event management.
China’s President Xi Jinping is a football fan and significant investment has been made in recent years to raise standards in the country, most noticeably in the rise to prominence of the domestic Chinese Super League.
China is expected to bid for the 2030 Fifa World Cup and the country is of strategic importance to Fifa. Chinese conglomerate the Wanda Group signed up as a top-tier Fifa Partner in March 2016, while dairy products manufacturer the Mengniu Group served as an official sponsor of the 2018 World Cup.
The signing of the MoU comes as China’s men’s national team continues to languish in the Fifa World Rankings at number 76. The women’s team is ranked 16th in the world.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino said: “It must be a priority of Fifa to ensure that the world’s most popular game keeps growing and developing in the world’s most populous country.
“Chinese football has been making strides for a long time now, and we are sure that, with this agreement, Fifa is in the position to provide a very tailored assistance for the game to evolve even further in China.”
CFA acting president Du Zhaocai added: “As a big nation committed to the development of world football, China is willing to make its contributions while being integrated into the international football family. We look forward to receiving the continuous support from Fifa for our football development, which will further promote the development of the game worldwide.”