English soccer legends Michael Owen, Mark Wright, target China

Updated: 2016-09-01 15:28

By Wang Mingjie in London(China Daily UK edition)

English soccer legends Michael Owen, Mark Wright, target China

L to R: Michael Owen, Mark Wright, and Sue Wright. Photo provided by Red Sports

England football legends Michael Owen and Mark Wright are ready to launch their Red Sports venture which aims to help the development of Chinese football, riding on increasingly strong interest in China's football industry.

Red Sports, based in Liverpool, will assist Chinese provinces in the training of football coaches, the development of football academies, and the development of football schools. The funding of the project will come from venture's partner provinces in China and commercial partners under licensing agreements.

Owen, who scored 40 goals for England in his 89 appearances, played for Liverpool FC, Manchester United, and Real Madrid.

Now retired as a player, he told China Daily: "To improve the future of the national team you have to start at grassroots level. Our program will provide children in China with the opportunity of learning about football and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and improved fitness."

"This is a strategic plan that will provide an ongoing stream of talented youngsters from which the clubs and the China national team will undoubtedly benefit."

Wright, with 45 England caps to his name who at one time was Liverpool captain, says "We will be training both Chinese nationals and existing Physical Education teachers to be able to deliver football training within a school setting.

"Red Sports coaches will deliver the modules of football education, but with continued additional visits by Owen, I and many other legends assigned to Red Sports. Red Sports also delivers training in the UK," he adds.

Following President Xi Jinping's vision for the transformation of football in China, China aims to become a "world football superpower" by 2050 and to develop a national team capable of winning the World Cup.

China's government is currently seeking to transform the country's sports sector into a 5 trillion-yuan ($752 billion) business by 2025.

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