Spanish soccer club buys stake in Chinese university club

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 BIT FC players show off their jerseys for the new season at the press conference in Beijing. Photo provided to

A Spanish club has acquired a stake in a Chinese university football club, the first-ever deal that introduces foreign capital to Chinese soccer after China released last year an overall soccer reform plan, calling for more introduction of foreign experts and expertise to help develop youth football.

The Beijing Institute of Technology Football Club (BIT FC) of China's League Two sold 29 percent of its stake to the Football Club Reus Deportivo (CF Reus) of the Second Division of Spanish League, in a move aimed at bringing the methodology that is currently practiced in Reus and was previously implemented in FC Barcelona, as it was announced in Beijing at a press conference.

An agreement of collaboration and share transfer was reached by the BIT FC, a club under the Beijing-based university including one professional team and one university team, and the Direct Sport Management (DSM) company, a Chinese affiliate to Hong Kong-based company CSSB that owns CF Reus. CSSB is a company focused on developing soccer to an international level, with majority of its shareholders from Spain.

The deal will bring CSSB's financial support that will allow the university club to improve its infrastructure and Reus' management team led by Joan Laporta and Joan Oliver, who ran FC Barcelona from 2003 to 2010 and witnessed Barcelona's glorious rise to become world number one club, said Yang Bin, standing president of the Beijing Institute of Technology.

It will also bring know-how from Spanish soccer, including the expertise of the coaching team, the development plan for youth academy, the renovation advice on the pitch, and even chefs for nutrition and doctors for treatment, said Joan Oliver, who comes to Beijing as a leading representative of CF Reus and the investor group.

Joan believed the cooperation opened a new era for soccer development in China as the Chinese and Spanish side will work together to develop a new model that's not base on big players acquisition, but on the training and development of the Chinese youth talent.

"We need to work for a dream that will make BIT become a great football club, and the Chinese football will finally get the place in the world that it deserves," Joan said.

Joan believed that BIT FC may become a first-class professional club in China one day with a strong reserve force from its university team, after ten or even more years of cooperation with Reus and CSSB.

The deal is the second move this year from the Spanish side to tap into the potential Chinese market, following FC Barcelona's "tens of millions of dollars" investment into a training and experience center on China's southernmost island province of Hainan, announced two months ago.

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