Bolton Wanderers have become the latest English club to forge links with China by signing a partnership agreement with Chinese Super League club Wuhan Guanggu.
The English Premier League club will be building a football development center in Wuhan, an industrial city in central China with a population of 7.86 million, some 30 times bigger than Bolton's.
"We have been looking at China for some time now as a potential future market," Bolton chief executive Allan Duckworth told the club's website.
In addition to the football center, the deal will mean players and coaches going between Lancashire and Hubei province.
"The Wuhan-Bolton center will be unique in China," said Wuhan's manager Chen Xudong, whose club won the CSL Cup last year.
"It will make a substantial contribution to the development of football, not just in our city but also in our country."
Sheffield United, newly promoted to join Bolton in the English top flight, own Chinese second division club Chengdu Blades.
English champions Chelsea, meanwhile, last month agreed to support grassroots development of the game in China by backing the Asian Football Confederation's Vision China program, which was piloted in Wuhan.
(Reuters via China Daily May 20, 2006)