Thursday 15 June 2017, 18:25

FIFA President visits China and Chinese Football Association

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) welcomed FIFA President Gianni Infantino to the People’s Republic of China earlier this week. As part of a visit to the East Asian Region, President Infantino travelled to China following the closing match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic.

On Monday, after being greeted and welcomed by Cai Zhenhua, the President of the CFA, Gianni Infantino met with association’s staff at its headquarters in Beijing. There he was presented with the CFA’s strategic plan for football development, which was designed to work in harmony with China’s blueprint for football, which will see the game becoming accessible to over 30 million primary and secondary school children by 2020. Improving access to football is a key priority for FIFA and Gianni Infantino informed the CFA President that FIFA would create a joint taskforce with the CFA to co-ordinate and assist China’s efforts in developing football.

The FIFA President then visited the Beijing Football Association (BFA), where he headed to the pitch to see the Beijing girls youth team and Beijing Dongcheng boys youth team taking part in football training exercises. The young players were very excited to greet their FIFA guest and were delighted to receive encouragement from President Infantino as they trained.

On the following day, FIFA President Gianni Infantino went to the Great Hall of the People to meet with the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping. Talks centred on the growing popularity of football in China and the Chinese government’s commitment to improving access to the game across the country. The FIFA President thanked President Xi for his commitment to expanding participation in football throughout China, and highlighted the important role football plays in breaking down cultural and social barriers, making it a game accessible to everyone. He also complimented the Chinese Football Association for their ambitious strategic plan and underlined FIFA's willingness to support their efforts through a closer cooperation. The Chinese President expressed his hope, and the dream of many Chinese people, that the country would have the opportunity to host a FIFA Men’s World Cup at some stage in the future.

Speaking after the meeting the FIFA President said: “China will play an important role in improving access to the game and we are grateful to President Xi for his support in this matter. We look forward to many future projects together.”