UK delegation visits SW China’s Guizhou, eyeing cooperation in village soccer training
Published: Nov 27, 2023 12:01 AM
People watch a Cun Chao soccer match in Rongjiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, on June 3, 2023. Photos: VCG

People watch a Cunchao soccer match in Rongjiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, on June 3, 2023. Photos: VCG

Representatives from the English Premier League (EPL) visited Rongjiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, on Saturday, engaging in in-depth discussions and promoting cooperation in various aspects such as talent development through China's village soccer tournament, which is dubbed Cunchao in Chinese.

According to media reports, representatives from the EPL and the UK Embassy in China are having exchanges with local soccer heads from Saturday to Monday to discuss the promotion of cooperation between Cunchao and the EPL.

So far, the two sides have agreed that the next step of cooperation will start with the training of athletes and coaches, so as to help the progress of China's village soccer tournament.

Peng Xixi, honorary president of the Football Association of Rongjiang County, told the Global Times on Sunday that the EPL will provide training, to help soccer development in the county. 

According to people familiar with the matter, the UK delegation are visiting Rongjiang to further explore the soccer environment and have already visited some primary schools in the village and communicated with the representatives of the Village Super League.

The representatives visited a primary school in Rongjiang county on Sunday to observe the training of a soccer team on the school's playground, as well as to learn about the pitch facilities and soccer education on campus, according to media reports. The student players greeted the representatives warmly, who in turn reciprocated by high-fiving the children. Everyone happily took a group photo together to cherish the moment.

The group also drove an hour and a half to pay visits to another village primary school to learn about Rongjiang's soccer education. The villagers welcomed the guests by playing the lusheng, a traditional Chinese wind instrument, whereas the young players in school were actively training and preparing for the upcoming matches.

The delegation is also here to prepare for the opening ceremony of EPL's training sessions with local soccer players that are scheduled to take place in the country on December 12, people who are familiar with the matter told the Global Times.

In September, Cunchao and the EPL signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation, which includes potentially friendly soccer matches as well as plans to carry out training courses, aiming to leverage the resources and experience of the EPL to support Chinese local sports development and further promote social, cultural and economic prosperity through sports.

Experts pointed out that the promotion of sports like soccer requires wide participation among local villagers and if a sport can be popularized in rural areas, it will better promote the formation of sports culture throughout the country as a whole.