New season of Village Super League to kick off with three times more teams than last year
Published: Mar 07, 2024 09:20 PM

Fans watch a Village Super League match in Rongjiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou Province. Photo: VCG

Fans watch a Village Super League match in Rongjiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou Province. Photo: VCG

The 2024 Village Super League (VSL) competitions, more commonly known as Cunchao, are set to kick off on March 16 in Rongjiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, and run until May 25, organizers said.

The Cunchao games, which made headlines throughout 2023, feature amateur soccer teams from different villages in the province competing in Rongjiang, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture.

This year's tournament promises even more excitement with the introduction of new gameplay elements. With the number of participating teams increasing from 20 last year to 62 this year, the Cunchao games in the 2024 season are divided into two stages: the preliminaries that were held from January 6 to February 24, and the final stage set for March to May. 

The 62 teams that competed in the preliminary stage were divided into 10 groups, with the top two from each group advancing to the final stage. The top 20 teams have already been determined. 

The final stage will adopt the same format as 2023, with the top 20 teams divided into two groups. The competition will include round-robin matches, followed by knockout rounds until the ultimate champions are decided.

In addition to hosting the Cunchao games, Rongjiang will focus on organizing other events such as a "national culinary intangible cultural heritage" soccer friendship tournament and a friendlies series with teams from South China's Guangdong Province, and the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions. 

The organizers aim to arrange a variety of events and introduce innovative gameplay to engage the local community.

Boosted by the popularity of village soccer and village basketball tournaments, Guizhou saw record-high numbers of tourists and tourism revenue, with a 13 percent increase in tourist arrivals compared with 2019. 

Bao Mingxiao, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee and a professor at Beijing Sport University, said that innovating sports events based on the unique resources of local ethnic groups and folklore is vital in promoting rural revitalization. He recommended that efforts should focus on developing sports activities related to ethnic groups, folklore and folk customs. 

To ensure an enjoyable experience for both tourists and soccer fans, Rongjiang will provide delicious local cuisine, improve accommodation options, enhance transportation services, and offer exciting sightseeing routes, organizers said, with an aim to keep the VSL season vibrant and full of excitement. 

Global Times