CSL's Spanish sojourn serves lessons in La Liga

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General view inside the Santiago Bernabeu stadium before the match between Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano in Madrid, Spain, Dec 15, 2018.

Representatives from 15 Chinese clubs completed a four-day fact-finding mission to Spain on Monday night with the aim of learning more about how the country's topflight La Liga competition operates.

Chinese Super League (CSL) vice president Yan Peixue said knowledge gleaned from the trip will benefit Asian soccer as a whole.

"La Liga is a long-established competition, and its history is unmatched, but we can learn a lot from its business organization, including the creation of a business environment between clubs," Yan told Xinhua at Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

The CSL club reps took part in a training session at Madrid-based La Liga club Getafe, where they observed procedures such as matchday management and live TV broadcasts.

They also visited Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium and the reigning European champion's high-tech training center.

During his presentation at Atletico's home, Yan stressed that the recent growth of the CSL has made it imperative to learn from major European leagues.

"In 2004, the average CSL crowd size was 10,600. That figure now stands at 24,068. Next year, we have set ourselves the goal of continuing to close the gap between the CSL and other major championships," he explained.

La Liga's head of international development, Oscar Mayo, stressed that one of the organization's goals was to use its 75 years of history to help other competitions develop and expand.

"Through our experience in Spain and abroad, we can offer advice on competition, safety, pitch maintenance and more, and at the same time, learn from the best practices of clubs in different countries," Mayo said.

La Liga's vice general manager for China, Zhang Le, highlighted the benefits of the visit for CSL clubs.

"We understand this visit is a mutual learning process, because Chinese football has its own characteristics and the Spanish league has a much longer history and is therefore much more established. Through this exchange, the two sides can learn a lot from each other."

The visit was also an opportunity for Spanish clubs to forge closer connections with the lucrative Chinese market.

"I am very surprised to see how much Chinese clubs have improved in such a short period of time," said Shao Xinyi, manager of business development in China for La Liga club Valencia. "This shows the rapid process of the professionalization of Chinese soccer."

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