PARIS/BEIJING: David Beckham is set to be more established in the Chinese market after becoming the first global ambassador for Chinese football. He will visit the country later this year in his new role to help promote Chinese football domestically and globally.
Chinese football officials are keen to promote a ‘clean’ image of the game after the corruption revealed by the matchfixing trials and sentences of senior directors, referees and players over the past two years.
Beckham’s invitation, from the Chinese Football Association, is the first such agreement with a foreign sportsman. Beckham’s Chinese football debut will be another influential role after his special ambassadorship for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
He said: “I am honoured to have been asked to play such an important role at this special time in Chinese football history. I’m excited by the prospect of promoting the world’s greatest game to Chinese sports fans as I’ve seen firsthand the growing interest in football there.
“This is a wonderful sport that inspires people across the world and brings families together, so I’m relishing the opportunity of introducing more fans to the game.”
The CFA aims to promote further the game to more than 1.3bn people in the country and inspire children by relying on Beckham’s iconic status in the world game It believes Beckham’s own story and his growing role as the spokesperson of sport have made him a perfect candidate.
A CFA official said: “This year 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of professional football game inChinaand the special ambassadorship of David Beckham will attract global attention to Chinese football and the CSL.
“We are pleased to invite Mr. Beckham to visitChina at this special moment. While inChina, he will attend the CSL and visit Clubs to get a deeper insight into football inChina. He will also help us to inspire and motivate as many children to participate in this beautiful game.”
The 2013 season of the Chinese Super League kicks off on Friday.
Simon Fuller, Beckham’s business partner, said: “This really underlines the scale and reach of his global popularity. This is the start of a new chapter in the David Beckham story, and I’m delighted for him. I’m certain that he will enjoy his China adventure.”
Mike Dolan, Chairman and CEO of IMG Worldwide, which has a 10-year deal as a strategic partner and promoter of the CFL said, “This is the perfect time for an icon like David Beckham to be spearheading the effort to promote football inChina.
“The combination of the 10-year anniversary of the CSL, the 20th anniversary of professional football inChinaand the global appeal of David Beckham practically insures that every young person in the country will have a new found interest in the game.
“We expect that David’s presence in the country will be massively important in popularizing the sport.”
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