This is how China is spending billions to try and take over the world of football

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" }, { "@type": "ImageObject", "thumbnailUrl": "https://www.businessinsider.in/photo/53430849/The-Premier-League-is-also-huge-in-China-In-a-match-between-Tottenham-and-South-China-this-month-many-Chinese-fans-wore-Tottenham-shirts-.jpg", "name": "The Premier League is also huge in China. In a match between Tottenham and South China this month, many Chinese fans wore Tottenham shirts.", "contentUrl": "https://www.businessinsider.in/this-is-how-china-is-spending-billions-to-try-and-take-over-the-world-of-football/sky-sports-has-just-announced-a-massive-three-year-deal-to-show-live-games-from-the-chinese-super-league-so-whats-the-big-deal-with-chinese-football/slidelist/53430815.cms#slideid=53430849", "caption": "The Premier League is also huge in China. In a match between Tottenham and South China this month, many Chinese fans wore Tottenham shirts." , "description": "The Premier League is also huge in China. In a match between Tottenham and South China this month, many Chinese fans wore Tottenham shirts." }, { "@type": "ImageObject", "thumbnailUrl": "https://www.businessinsider.in/photo/53430850/Manchester-United-were-supposed-to-play-against-Manchester-City-at-the-Beijing-Olympic-Stadium-this-month-for-the-International-Champions-Cup-showing-how-much-big-teams-care-about-luring-the-Chinese-market-The-game-was-unfortunately-cancelled-because-of-concerns-about-the-state-of-the-pitch-.jpg", "name": "Manchester United were supposed to play against Manchester City at the Beijing Olympic Stadium this month for the International Champions Cup, showing how much big teams care about luring the Chinese market. The game was unfortunately cancelled because of concerns about the state of the pitch.", "contentUrl": "https://www.businessinsider.in/this-is-how-china-is-spending-billions-to-try-and-take-over-the-world-of-football/sky-sports-has-just-announced-a-massive-three-year-deal-to-show-live-games-from-the-chinese-super-league-so-whats-the-big-deal-with-chinese-football/slidelist/53430815.cms#slideid=53430850", "caption": "Manchester United were supposed to play against Manchester City at the Beijing Olympic Stadium this month for the International Champions Cup, showing how much big teams care about luring the Chinese market. The game was unfortunately cancelled because of concerns about the state of the pitch." , "description": "Manchester United were supposed to play against Manchester City at the Beijing Olympic Stadium this month for the International Champions Cup, showing how much big teams care about luring the Chinese market. The game was unfortunately cancelled because of concerns about the state of the pitch." }, { "@type": "ImageObject", "thumbnailUrl": "https://www.businessinsider.in/photo/53430852/Not-everyone-is-happy-with-the-impending-Chinese-dominance-Arsenal-manager-Arsene-Wenger-has-predicted-the-influx-of-money-will-result-in-massive-transfer-fee-inflation-.jpg", "name": "Not everyone is happy with the impending Chinese dominance. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has predicted the influx of money will result in massive transfer fee inflation.", "contentUrl": "https://www.businessinsider.in/this-is-how-china-is-spending-billions-to-try-and-take-over-the-world-of-football/sky-sports-has-just-announced-a-massive-three-year-deal-to-show-live-games-from-the-chinese-super-league-so-whats-the-big-deal-with-chinese-football/slidelist/53430815.cms#slideid=53430852", "caption": "Not everyone is happy with the impending Chinese dominance. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has predicted the influx of money will result in massive transfer fee inflation." , "description": "Not everyone is happy with the impending Chinese dominance. 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So it seems logical that in the coming years, China could end up as footballing powerhouse.", "contentUrl": "https://www.businessinsider.in/this-is-how-china-is-spending-billions-to-try-and-take-over-the-world-of-football/sky-sports-has-just-announced-a-massive-three-year-deal-to-show-live-games-from-the-chinese-super-league-so-whats-the-big-deal-with-chinese-football/slidelist/53430815.cms#slideid=53430855", "caption": "In the past when China has invested huge resources into sport, it has generally seen substantial success — just look at the way the country's Olympic athletes have challenged US dominance in recent years. So it seems logical that in the coming years, China could end up as footballing powerhouse." , "description": "In the past when China has invested huge resources into sport, it has generally seen substantial success — just look at the way the country's Olympic athletes have challenged US dominance in recent years. So it seems logical that in the coming years, China could end up as footballing powerhouse." } ] } }

Sky Sports has just announced a massive three-year deal to show live games from the Chinese Super League. So what's the big deal with Chinese football?

Sky Sports has just announced a massive three-year deal to show live games from the Chinese Super League. So what's the big deal with Chinese football?
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Well, China is the most populated country on Earth, with 1.4 billion people. And a lot of them are getting really into football.

Well, China is the most populated country on Earth, with 1.4 billion people. And a lot of them are getting really into football.
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The Chinese Super League (CSL), China's top football division, is putting huge resources into getting the world to take notice of the beautiful game in China.

The Chinese Super League (CSL), China's top football division, is putting huge resources into getting the world to take notice of the beautiful game in China.

In fact the CSL spent $280 million (£214 million) on players during the last transfer window. That's more than the Premier League.

In fact the CSL spent $280 million (£214 million) on players during the last transfer window. That's more than the Premier League.

Source: Financial Times

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Some of those players clubs in the league have bought include Jackson Martínez, who moved from Atlético Madrid to Guangzhou Evergrande for £31 million ($41 million).

Some of those players clubs in the league have bought include Jackson Martínez, who moved from Atlético Madrid to Guangzhou Evergrande for £31 million ($41 million).

Brazil's Alex Teixeira was another major Chinese coup. Jiangsu Suning beat Liverpool to sign him for over £40 million ($53 million). As the CSL becomes more high profile, these big signings are likely to get even more common.

Brazil's Alex Teixeira was another major Chinese coup. Jiangsu Suning beat Liverpool to sign him for over £40 million ($53 million). As the CSL becomes more high profile, these big signings are likely to get even more common.
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It's not just players that come to China: ex-England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has coached Shanghai since 2014.

It's not just players that come to China: ex-England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has coached Shanghai since 2014.

And Luiz Felipe Scolari, who took Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002, now manages Guangzhou Evergrande.

And Luiz Felipe Scolari, who took Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002, now manages Guangzhou Evergrande.
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These are the locations of the 14 teams who competed in last season's CSL.

These are the locations of the 14 teams who competed in last season's CSL.

The CSL was established in 2004, formed from the Chinese Jia-A league which was created ten years earlier.

The CSL was established in 2004, formed from the Chinese Jia-A league which was created ten years earlier.
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This season the CSL has admitted two more teams, taking the total to 16. Like in the Premier League, all teams play each other once at home and once away. The season starts in the spring, ending in winter.

This season the CSL has admitted two more teams, taking the total to 16. Like in the Premier League, all teams play each other once at home and once away. The season starts in the spring, ending in winter.

Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao is easily the most successful club in the league, having won it the last five times in a row. It's part-owned by Jack Ma (on the right), China's second-richest man.

Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao is easily the most successful club in the league, having won it the last five times in a row. It's part-owned by Jack Ma (on the right), China's second-richest man.
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Shandong Luneng (pictured) is another strong side, having won the league three times, while Beijing Guoan won it once and came second three times.

Shandong Luneng (pictured) is another strong side, having won the league three times, while Beijing Guoan won it once and came second three times.

Crowds at Chinese football matches are really growing. Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao attracts an average of 46,000 fans while Beijing Guoan gets over 40,000. That's higher than more than 60% of Premier League sides.

Crowds at Chinese football matches are really growing. Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao attracts an average of 46,000 fans while Beijing Guoan gets over 40,000. That's higher than more than 60% of Premier League sides.
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Corporations are also taking notice of the CSL. The league's current sponsor is insurance giant Ping An, which pays 150 million yuan (£17 million; $22 million) per season for the privilege?.

Corporations are also taking notice of the CSL. The league's current sponsor is insurance giant Ping An, which pays 150 million yuan (£17 million; $22 million) per season for the privilege?.

Despite the money China ploughs into football, it's national team... still isn't great.

Despite the money China ploughs into football, it's national team... still isn't great.
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It is only 81st in the current FIFA rankings. But the government plans to change that by expanding the number of schools offering specialised football training from 5,000 to 50,000.

It is only 81st in the current FIFA rankings. But the government plans to change that by expanding the number of schools offering specialised football training from 5,000 to 50,000.

Source: Financial Times

It also wants to host the World Cup to raise the profile of the sport in the country even further. The National Stadium would certainly make a fantastic football ground.

It also wants to host the World Cup to raise the profile of the sport in the country even further. The National Stadium would certainly make a fantastic football ground.
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But it's not just in its own country that China is making an impact on football: Chinese companies and individuals are also buying up European teams. Xia Jiantong of Recon Group bought Aston Villa this year.

But it's not just in its own country that China is making an impact on football: Chinese companies and individuals are also buying up European teams. Xia Jiantong of Recon Group bought Aston Villa this year.

Suning Holding Group also bought a majority share of Inter Milan in June for a reported €270 million ($355 million).

Suning Holding Group also bought a majority share of Inter Milan in June for a reported €270 million ($355 million).
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Chinese conglomerate group Fosun also got in on the game this month, buying English second tier side Wolverhampton Wanderers for £45 million ($59 million).

Chinese conglomerate group Fosun also got in on the game this month, buying English second tier side Wolverhampton Wanderers for £45 million ($59 million).

China Media Capital, backed by the government, is part of a consortium that bought a $400 million (£305 million) stake in Manchester City, a move Forbes calls political? as well as economical.

China Media Capital, backed by the government, is part of a consortium that bought a $400 million (£305 million) stake in Manchester City, a move Forbes calls political? as well as economical.

Source: Forbes

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Wanda Group also bought a 20% stake in Atletico Madrid after encouragement from the Chinese government.

Wanda Group also bought a 20% stake in Atletico Madrid after encouragement from the Chinese government.

Source: Forbes

In fact the Chinense government is the big reason the country is suddenly so interested in football. President Xi has said he wants the China's sports industry to be worth $850 billion (£647 billion) by 2025, and football will be a major part of that.

In fact the Chinense government is the big reason the country is suddenly so interested in football. President Xi has said he wants the China's sports industry to be worth $850 billion (£647 billion) by 2025, and football will be a major part of that.
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Xi even paid a visit to Manchester City's training ground with Prime Minister David Cameron on his last state visit, making plain how committed China is to football.

Xi even paid a visit to Manchester City's training ground with Prime Minister David Cameron on his last state visit, making plain how committed China is to football.

.@aguerosergiokun: "Thank you for the selfie, President Xi" ???????,???!#CFAStateVisit pic.twitter.com/4du2zIaacY

— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 23, 2015

The Premier League is also huge in China. In a match between Tottenham and South China this month, many Chinese fans wore Tottenham shirts.

The Premier League is also huge in China. In a match between Tottenham and South China this month, many Chinese fans wore Tottenham shirts.
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Manchester United were supposed to play against Manchester City at the Beijing Olympic Stadium this month for the International Champions Cup, showing how much big teams care about luring the Chinese market. The game was unfortunately cancelled because of concerns about the state of the pitch.

Manchester United were supposed to play against Manchester City at the Beijing Olympic Stadium this month for the International Champions Cup, showing how much big teams care about luring the Chinese market. The game was unfortunately cancelled because of concerns about the state of the pitch.

Not everyone is happy with the impending Chinese dominance. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has predicted the influx of money will result in massive transfer fee inflation.

Not everyone is happy with the impending Chinese dominance. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has predicted the influx of money will result in massive transfer fee inflation.
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But Manchester United Vice Chairman Edward Woodward has said the country will provide another lucrative market for European clubs to sell their players.

But Manchester United Vice Chairman Edward Woodward has said the country will provide another lucrative market for European clubs to sell their players.

In the past when China has invested huge resources into sport, it has generally seen substantial success — just look at the way the country's Olympic athletes have challenged US dominance in recent years. So it seems logical that in the coming years, China could end up as footballing powerhouse.

In the past when China has invested huge resources into sport, it has generally seen substantial success — just look at the way the country's Olympic athletes have challenged US dominance in recent years. So it seems logical that in the coming years, China could end up as footballing powerhouse.
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