Beijing (AFP) – China’s Under-20 team will play matches in the fourth tier of German football this season as part of a drive to ramp up the fortunes of the much-maligned national side.
China’s Communist government, led by football fan President Xi Jinping, is throwing money at the sport in hopes of ending years of national underachievement.
Xi wants China to host and challenge for the World Cup one day, but before that Chinese football bosses are targeting success at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
As part of the all-out effort, Chinese football authorities have been forging links with reigning world champions Germany and on Wednesday said the Under-20 side will compete in the German fourth tier.
“For the Chinese men’s Under-20 team to be able to train in Germany and to compete in the Regionalliga Suedwest, it’s an important opportunity for Chinese football to learn from German football,” the Chinese national side said in a statement.
The statement was issued after the Chinese and German football associations signed an agreement in Beijing.
The state-owned China News said the Chinese side’s results will not count in the league placings.
The Under-20 team will begin playing in the second half of the season, from January onwards, according to a report by German sports news agency SID, an AFP subsidiary.
China’s senior national team has long been an embarrassment to the country and are currently ranked down in 77th in the FIFA world rankings.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $35/mo. for Sling Blue
- Watch Premier League, World Cup & MLS
- Includes USA, NBC, FOX, FS1 + more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Sling is your ticket to the best of PSG starring Messi, Neymar and Mbappe
- FIFA officially advances World Cup by a day for Qatar
- Telemundo World Cup studio talent for Qatar announced
- How Paramount+ can improve its soccer streaming
- Sterling could not waste peak years at Man City on the bench
- Africa Super League: What we know and don’t know
- Youri Tielemans to Arsenal more likely with Lokonga loan
- Frankfurt’s Kostic arrives in Turin for Juventus medical
- Elliott signs new long-term Liverpool deal
- Vela, Ruidiaz lift MLS All-Stars to 2-1 win over Liga MX