Football in China
Football in China has a long history, with some in the country continuing to reassert that the game has its origins there. More recent history nevertheless suggests that football has not been an especially popular sport. However, over the last two decades China’s view of football has changed. This has been the result both of political support for China’s engagement with the sport, as well as economic and socio-cultural changes taking place inside the country. As such, China has adopted a more strategic approach to football, leading to current President Xi Jinping’s proclamation that he wants his country for bid for the right to stage the World Cup and, by 2050, become a leading FIFA nation. In this chapter, we examine the historical development of football in China. Specifically, we do this in the context of communism and subsequent changes within China leading to its emergence as an economic power. Thereafter, we explore the changes now taking place in Chinese football, and then critically assess the effectiveness of these changes.