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Guangzhou R&F launches women’s team to play in CWSL

Chinese Super League football club Guangzhou R&F is launching a women’s team to compete in the next season of the China Football Association’s Women’s Super League (CWSL).

The CFA this year launched a policy requiring CSL clubs to have women’s teams competing in the Women’s Super League and other divisions by 2020. Other CSL clubs that have teams competing in the CWSL include Shanghai Shenhua and Jiangsu Suning. In the current 2019 season, the CWSL has eight teams in total.

Guangzhou R&F’s team is being launched in partnership with the Guangdong Meizhou Sports School. The school’s existing team, which is made up of players aged 16 to 18, won the young women’s football tournament at the regional 2018 Guangdong Sports Games, according to Hupu.com.

Guangzhou R&F’s female players will study and train at the team’s football academy in Meizhou. In 2017, Dutch Eredivisie club Ajax signed a five-year agreement with Guangzhou R&F to shape and develop the academy. It has around 330 young people aged eight to 17 living and training on the site.

Speaking earlier this year about its women’s football policy, CFA vice-president Du Zhaocai said: “We have noticed that quite a few of the world’s most successful clubs have women’s teams as well and, boosted by successes of the men’s teams, their women’s teams have developed fast and achieved tremendous successes too.

“This is a pattern on which we can model our women’s game. So we have decided that each CSL side should have a women’s team by 2020, so the men’s game will lend their strengths to the women’s game.”

This is part of a larger strategy based on the US college sports system, Du said: “At grassroots level, we draw experiences of the USA, which is to develop the game at schools level, particularly building the universities and colleges leagues. Furthermore, we will seek support from all walks of life and launch funds for the women’s game.

“At national team level, we have brought a competitive system by launching both a first team and reserve team. So the players will compete for the right to play. With the reserve side complementing the first team, the youth teams of U-20 and U-17 will play the role of providers to the senior team and all these national teams will develop under the identical technical and tactical guidelines.”