Chinese soccer revival at feet of youngsters

11:03, September 28, 2009

China's senior sports official Sunday voiced concern about the level of soccer in China and promised to boost it through a youth program.

"The level of China's soccer is pretty low, which is in sharp contrast to the glory other sports have gained for China," sports minister, Liu Peng, said.

"The shortage of reserve talent is the key reason for its low level."

According to the latest FIFA rankings, China are an embarrassing 107th in the world and a lowly No 13 in Asia.

To change the dire situation, Liu has promised to focus on youth development.

The measures include adding men's and women's youth soccer events to the National Games, reestablishing junior teams in provinces and cities and promoting training in more than 2,000 primary and middle schools throughout the country.

"Up until now, 22 cities have reestablished soccer teams for young players," Liu said. "About 2,200 primary and middle schools in 46 cities have started soccer training.

"A national soccer league for primary and middle schools, in which the State General Administration of Sport has invested tens of millions of yuan to support, will be launched on Oct 14 in Qingdao, Shandong province.

"I hope the public will pay more attention to youth soccer because the future of the game in China is in the hands of those young players."

Source: China Daily

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