London forum advances soccer hopes

Updated: 2015-09-18 23:23

By Zhang Chunyan and Ma Chi in London(

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

London forum advances soccer hopes

Liu Yandong poses with young players of the UK-China youth football friendly. [Photo by Jiang Shan/China Daily]

John Whittingdale, British secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said at the forum: "Football has a long and proud history, bringing people across the world together. The success of the Premier League is partly because of overseas supporters, including Chinese fans. "Chinese football is going from strength to strength. The Chinese government has put major investment in the game, and football has entered more and more primary schools. I believe China will become a formidable force in football, just as in other sports games," Whittingdale added.

Richard Scudamore, CEO of Premier League, on Social responsibility of Premier League, said, "Every club of Premier League, and many from lower level football leagues, have their separate foundations and community arms. On the one hand, these foundations help engage young people and the community in the game, and on the other hand, they use the power of football to strengthen social bond."

"We have 250,000 people working in these clubs' foundations and arms, which is almost the same number of workers in the clubs themselves. Every single year, through the work of these foundations and arms, we involve 500,000 young people to engage in football programs and other social programs such as health and education ones. Through these programs, young people, including the most vulnerable in society, are given opportunities to become better integrated into their local communities, to develop their skills for employability and raise their self-esteem," Scudamore said.

The forum was co-hosted by China's State General Administration of Sports, the UK's Department for Culture, Media & Sport and the British Council.

On the theme "From grassroots to professional league", the forum brought together representatives from both sides sharing their experiences and ideas on the development of soccer and putting forward suggestions to improve it.

Representing the English side were Martin Glenn, CEO of English soccer's governing body, the Football Association; Richard Scudamore, CEO of Premier League; and Michael Owen, a former international star for England.

Representing China were Xu Jiayin, chairman of Evergrande Group, which backed Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Club; Wang Jianlin, a real estate tycoon who has a long history of investing in soccer; and Li Tie and Fan Zhiyi, two former Chinese soccer players who were the first to play in the UK's Premier League.

Contact the writer at and