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'Little Becks' kicks off 4-day China tour

(Global Times)

09:57, March 21, 2013

British football superstar David Beckham reacts while playing football with students of Beijing No. 2 High School in Beijing, China on March 20, 2013. (Xinhua/Cao Can)

Soccer superstar David Beckham took up his role as the official ambassador for the sport in China after arriving in Beijing by private jet Wednesday.

Wei Jixiang, Party secretary of the management center of football under the General Administration of Sports, said he hopes Beckham will help promote the Chinese Super League, the highest tier in the country's professional football association.

"I expect Beckham will have a lot of positive influence for the professional football association and the sport," Wei said.

Beckham's four-day tour of China will also take him to Qingdao, Shandong Province and Wuhan, Hubei Province.

The superstar's appointment as ambassador of soccer came after the sport's image was battered by a three-year investigation into a series of bribery, match-fixing and corruption scandals.

Some 30 former officials, players and referees have been imprisoned, while the Chinese Football Association said in February that 33 people received a lifetime ban from football.

The 37-year-old star, known by his Chinese nickname "Little Becks," said during a press conference Wednesday that he is not a politician and his visit has nothing to do with improving the game's image.

He said he only wants to help educate young children and motivate them to become professional footballers, adding that he has not been paid to come to China.

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