China aims to build 400 high-caliber varsity football teams: ministry

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-01 20:33:34|Editor: Lifang
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BEIJING, Feb.1 (Xinhua) -- A total of 200 Chinese universities are expected to have high-caliber football teams, according to a press conference held by the Ministry of Education Thursday.

Each of the 200 universities are required to have a male and a female team, said Wang Dengfeng, head of the ministry's department of physical, health and arts education.

In the past three years, the central government invested more than 600 million yuan (about 95 million U.S. dollars) to facilitate the development of campus football, and 20 billion yuan (318 million U.S. dollars) were spent by local governments, according to the ministry.

China added more than 70,000 new physical education teachers nationwide during the period, 15,000 of which had a football background. Some 360 foreign teachers were also employed by schools for football education.

China has more than 50,000 campus football pitches as of present, and the number is expected to reach 85,000 in 2020, Wang said.

Wang also pledged to organize tournaments at all levels and set up training camps to upgrade existing arrangements for campus football development.

"The ministry will further boost its pilot program in selected counties and districts, where more than 60 percent of primary and middle schools will offer quality football education," Wang said. The program now involves 102 counties and districts.

According to previous figures by the ministry, at the end of 2017, a total of 20,218 primary and middle schools across the country had started offering football education to spearhead campus football development.

In 2015, the ministry together with five other departments issued a guideline to encourage football development.

By 2020, some 20,000 schools should have high-standard football education, and the number should reach 50,000 by 2025, the guideline said.