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E-sports introduced to help Chinese soccer league grow

(People's Daily Online)    15:52, August 23, 2017

Starting from August 19, Chinese Super League (CSL) began to see a counterpart online as the Chinese E-sports Football League (CEFL) was unveiled, aiming to win more support for a sport that has upset many.

The first CEFL included e-sports teams from eight Chinese soccer clubs, including Guangzhou R&F, Shanghai SIPG, Shandong Luneng Taishan, Jiangsu Suning, and Chongqing Lifan. Every weekend, the FIFA Online 3 game will be on, following the CSL schedule. E-sports players, consisting of professional soccer players, soccer fans, and professional e-sports players, pick players from their own clubs to play in the game, reported sport news site Ecosports.cn.

Hosted by China Athletic E-Sports League (CAEL) and Tencent Games, CEFL was first introduced in June. Over a dozen Chinese soccer clubs have set up their own e-sports teams so far.

The decision to make CSL an e-sport reportedly followed similar moves made by international soccer leagues. Germany's Bundesliga, for example, saw e-sports players join traditional clubs as early as in 2015, when VfL Wolfsburg signed FIFA player SalzOr.

It is believed that by introducing e-sports, the traditional ball-kicking sport can gain audience by allowing more people to participate in the game, according to Ecosports.cn. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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