After a weekend of top level meetings China and Germany have moved to boost their cooperation in football, as China sets its sights on becoming a big player on the world stage.
On Friday there was the signing of a Sino-German Football Partnership Agreement at the Chancellery in Berlin with China’s vice-premier Liu Yandong in attendance. Liu then went on to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel at a forum on football cooperation.
This was followed on Saturday by a meeting of representatives of both countries’ clubs and associations in Cologne. Vice Premier Liu was again present and issues discussed included the training of players, coaches & referees and collaboration at club level.
China was represented by Hao Ping, Deputy Minister of Education, Cai Zhenhua, Deputy Minister of the State General Administration of Sports and President of the Chinese Football Association, and a number of officials from different football clubs.
According to bundesliga.com, “The goal of the partnership is to achieve an ongoing mutual exchange of ideas and experience between the two countries.”
Overall both countries have much to gain from this cooperation. While China stands to acquire expertise from the Germans, Bundesliga clubs will have a huge market for sponsorship and merchandising opened up to them.
Herbert Hainer, a former boss of Adidas said future Bundesliga matches could take place abroad. "Of course that could happen," Hainer told German magazine Sport Bild when questioned on possible future Bundesliga games in China.