Bayern boosts China's master plan

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From left: Guo Xiaowei, CEO of China Sports Futurity Investment Limited, Jorg Wacker, board member for internationalization and strategy of FC Bayern Munich, and Wang Jianguang, chairman of China Sports Futurity Investment Limited pose after the Bundesliga giant announced plans to open the FC Bayern Football School Shenzhen.

Bayern Munich has ramped up its efforts to tap Chinese talent and markets as Germany continues to add its expertise to China's drive for soccer supremacy.

The Bundesliga giant has announced plans to open the FC Bayern Football School Shenzhen in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on the heels of opening an office in Shanghai last week to grow its Asian fanbase.

"Our goal is clearly stated. In the following years, we want to strengthen the visibility of FC Bayern in China and share our knowledge and values," Bayern spokesman Jorg Wacker said, adding the German champion has more Chinese training centers on the drawing board.

One of the main tasks of Bayern's Shanghai outpost will be to promote the club's end-of-season tour of China.

The Bavarian club, which claims to have 136 million fans in China, has already opened a school in Qinqdao, where it ran its first training sessions for teachers and coaches in February.

The Qingdao school is mostly involved in providing a training and competition platform for kids and teens, while the Shenzhen school will offer youngsters more significant, full-time soccer instruction as well a academic education.

"The Bayern Football School is committed to engaging the local football community and providing youth-training philosophy and methodology to coaches and players in Shenzhen," said Wacker.

"The school aims to bring Bayern's youth-development knowledge and expertise together to local coaches and teachers and players to become the first complex for sports, cultural activities and entertainment.

"More importantly, it will be a world-class sports park for soccer training."

Bayern brand ambassador Hasan Salihamidzi said: "We're proud to officially announce the FC Bayern Football School Shenzhen. Chinese soccer has a huge potential and we want to contribute and thus to expedite the evolution of Chinese soccer by sharing our knowledge and experience."

The school will be located in downtown Shenzhen's Longgang district. The site will consist of six 11-a-side pitches, 10 five-a-side fields and four indoor pitches.

The multi-purpose complex will also include a fitness center, a high-tech training ground, a tactics seminar room, a nutrition center, a fan area and a Bayern-themed museum.

It's hoped the combination of Bayern's expertise and Longgang district's considerable resources will help grow the school into a world-renowned youth academy.

Last year, the Chinese Football Association released a 50-point, 35-year plan aimed at improving the domestic game and realizing President Xi Jinping's goal of developing China into a soccer powerhouse.

In an effort to accelerate the plan, Vice-Premier Liu Yandong attended the China-Germany Football Development Symposium in November last year.

The symposium laid the foundation for a stable and sustained strategic cooperation partnership between the two countries in the sport, as well as for creating opportunities for exchanges between both national teams and professional clubs.

Upon the conclusion of the talks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Liu signed agreements to cooperate in government input, soccer associations and campus soccer.

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