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French governing bodies target China market

Paris (AFP) – The French Football Federation (FFF) and French Football League (LFP) will open an office in Beijing from next year, they said on Thursday.

The move is aimed at promoting French football in China, where the game is now hugely popular, particularly the English Premier League.

The two French governing bodies described the “development and cooperation office” as an opportunity to “export French know-how and to develop the French football market in China and internationally”.

Football is growing fast in China — along with the country’s economy — despite the lack of success for its national team, which has only once qualified for the World Cup, in 2002.

Two years later China reached the Asian Cup final on home soil but they’ve never since got beyond the quarter-finals in that competition.

Millions of dollars have been ploughed into the domestic league from rich businessmen and clubs in China’s Super League outspent even the richest European championships in the last winter transfer window.

Rich Chinese businessmen have also invested heavily in buying European clubs with Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers all purchased by Chinese investors over the last two years.

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