President Xi Jinping, himself a football fan, launched the sports reform plan. (Photo: www.wantchinatimes.com)
Analysts say the country needs more training grounds in order to boost the government’s football reform plans.
“One of the main concerns regarding China’s plan to develop football is the lack of training grounds,” said football analyst Tristan Wang.
According to the Ministry of Education, the Chinese government plans to deploy 20,000 new training grounds and facilities and develop 100,000 new players in 2017.
Sharing the same sentiment with Wang, the general construction manager of Beijing Sailing Jianye Sports Facilities Co. Ltd. Wang Xianwei said the demand for construction has not yet increased.
“We received less than 10 orders last year for the development of football fields, and most of them came from elementary and secondary schools as well as universities,” said Wang. “Most places choose to renovate their sites, and only a few install new ones.”
Even in Dalian and Qingdao, considered the heart of football in the country, the lack of new fields is becoming a major problem for sports at the local level.
“I haven’t seen orders increase for football fields,” said Sun Daiting, general manager of Qingdao Yifan Sports Facilities Co. Ltd., adding that the company, along with others, “is striving to create more business opportunities “.
By the end of 2013, the number of sports venues and fields in China reached 1.7 million. This figure is double that of ten years ago.
The General Administration of Sports of China also noted that in order to realize the plan to increase the area of venues per capita to 2 square meters by 2025, new fields should be built in urban communities.
“Obviously the competition for land in urban areas is intense,” said Simon Chadwick, professor of sports business at the University of Salford in Manchester, England.
“While football may be a government priority, the sport still has to compete for land with other industrial sectors, from retail to manufacturing,” Chadwick said. “This may therefore force state authorities, local planners and those involved in football (soccer) to seek other solutions to solve this problem.”
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