China seems to be making fast progress establishing their youth development infrastructure. Without doubt, their goal is to develop talent as quickly as possible to be able to create a competitive national team as early as 2022.
Football/ soccer in China is supported at the highest levels. China’s president Mr. Xi Jinping has made no secret of his love for the “beautiful game.” He’s also made it clear he wants to see China qualify for, host and one day win, the World Cup.
So consequently, setting up a proper youth development infrastructure for talented young Chinese is a starting point. China’s administration has reportedly named 4,755 primary and middle schools across the country as “specialist football academies” to spearhead campus football development, the Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE) announced.
Moreover, 31 counties and districts have been picked to operate selected pilot football projects. The appointed schools will enjoy extra funding and support. The MOE requires selected schools and districts to widely publicize football events and progresses made.
The selected schools will be evaluated regularly and the results will be made public. Underperformers will first be given a chance to improve, and will be stripped of their status if unsuccessful, said the MOE.
The MOE has not communicated however, how and by whom these impartial quality assessments will be conducted, especially bearing in mind the large number of specialist football academies. Also, it remains unclear which quality criteria China will use to conduct these assessments. Will the Chinese Football Association develop their own set of quality criteria? Or will they use criteria developed by international bodies such as FIFA or the AFC?
What do you think?
Written by: Joern Schlimm