Category Archives: Football

Lippi cashes in on China’s Mission Impossible

It clearly takes a lot to tempt Italian coaching legend Marcello Lippi out of retirement for one last job, but fortunately for him there are some very deep pockets in China.

While Lippi will be officially announced as the new coach of China’s national soccer team on Friday, reports have revealed that he and his team – of whom former Everton star Li Tie will be a part – will collect 20 million euros annually over an initial two-year term.

Given China’s precarious state in the final round of AFC qualifying – bottom of Group A after four games – it’s less like a final throw of the dice than a refusal to accept that the die has already been cast.

In the video below, China Sports Insider’s Mark Dreyer discusses the Lippi hiring on CCTV News, with Yan Qiang, Tian Wei and Simon Pusey: Continue reading Lippi cashes in on China’s Mission Impossible

West Brom, AC Milan added to China’s trophy cabinet

Chinese football added another two major clubs to the country’s portfolio, as the government-backed soccer drive shows no sign of slowing down.

With the sporting world’s attention zeroing in on the Rio Olympics, China’s football industry – as has been the case repeatedly this year – stole back the spotlight. West Brom became the first English Premier League club to be acquired by a mainland Chinese owner. Then, just hours later, AC Milan joined the club as a Chinese consortium took full ownership from Silvio Berlusconi, following the lead of its cross-town rival Inter two months ago. Here are five thoughts on the day’s dealings:  Continue reading West Brom, AC Milan added to China’s trophy cabinet

Will Premier League teams ever come back to China?

Thousands of Chinese soccer fans went home very disappointed last Monday evening, following the cancellation of the much-anticipated Manchester derby, after rain the previous week had left the pitch at the Bird’s Nest stadium in an unplayable state. Coupled with less than stellar pre-season tours in previous years, it’s hard to see many top Premier League teams jumping at the chance to return to China, especially when trips to the US and elsewhere are so much more enjoyable.

The expected resumption of hostilities between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, the new coaches of City and United respectively, had shone an unusually bright spotlight on this pre-season friendly, which, unfortunately, only served to highlight the inadequacies of the event’s preparation.

Continue reading Will Premier League teams ever come back to China?

Explained: What’s behind Chinese takeovers of football clubs

I spoke to Sky Sports reporter Johnny Phillips last week for a piece he did on the increasing amount of Chinese investment directed at English football clubs in recent weeks. Editors being as they are, only a few selected highlights appeared in the finished article, but we covered a lot of ground, so here is an uncut version (completed shortly before the Wolves deal – the latest of the Chinese takeovers – was announced), touching on why rumours spread so quickly, West Brom’s possible owner and his plans for world domination, Sven spouting nonsense and why Wolves fans are probably sleeping better than Villa ones at the moment.

Continue reading Explained: What’s behind Chinese takeovers of football clubs

Horrific injury overshadows CSL’s latest star arrivals

The CSL’s summer transfer window saw yet another record fee paid, as more international players arrived in China, but the league’s top scorer, Demba Ba, is looking at months on the sidelines after a bad leg break.

It is a measure of how much the pulling power of the Chinese Super League (CSL) has exploded over the past year that the summer transfer window, which closed last week, contained a handful of blockbuster deals, but was still considered quieter than expected.

Continue reading Horrific injury overshadows CSL’s latest star arrivals

New soccer tournaments could see China gain global dominance

China’s long-term soccer plan calls for the country to be a global force in the game by 2050, but if China’s latest football project comes off, it would arguably become a major footballing power long before that.  

The plan has been laid out by the Chinese government, backed, of course, by President Xi Jinping, but the latest moves have come from one of the country’s biggest companies – Wanda, whose boss just happens to be China’s richest man.

Continue reading New soccer tournaments could see China gain global dominance

AC Milan’s Chinese saga nears end as rumor mill grinds on

AC Milan is the latest in a long line of European football targets picked out by Chinese investors – and it won’t be the last.

On the football pitch, the Italians are known for a slow, tactical style that, while effective, can bore an opponent into submission.

Off the pitch, it may also be a similar story.

Continue reading AC Milan’s Chinese saga nears end as rumor mill grinds on

Aston Villa’s Chinese owner: Saint or Sinner?

Tony Xia has been hailed in some quarters as Aston Villa’s knight in shining armor, but how much is really known about the Chinese businessman?

Reading the Meet our new Owner introductory page on Aston Villa’s official website, new chairman Tony Xia ticks all the right boxes: young, presentable, well-educated, former player, long-time Villa fan and – as an employer of 35,000 people in 75 countries – presumably also fantastically rich.

But the truth, it seems, is not quite that simple. Continue reading Aston Villa’s Chinese owner: Saint or Sinner?

10 sporting questions for the Year of the Monkey

After a breathless few weeks during which the entire sporting world has been talking about Chinese football (with yours truly quoted by AFP three timesFT twice, El Pais, Hicimos, Vice Sports and interviewed by CCTVBBC and Al Jazeera among others), let’s take a look at a few stories that could be cropping up over the next 12 months…

funky-monkey-soccer

Continue reading 10 sporting questions for the Year of the Monkey