ZURICH/BEIJING: The Chinese Football Association, the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA have approved a plan from Wanda Sports Holdings Co. and the Chinese Football Association to host a China Cup’ International Football Tournament.

The proposal is controversial at a time when officials regularly complain that players are forced to play too many games; fatigue was one of the reasons posited for the poor quality of football at the European Championship finals which wrapped up last weekend in France.

The 2017 games will be held in the southern Chinese region of Guangxi, on January 9 to January 16.

China and three national teams from Europe and the Americas will play four games in what is being billed by Wanda – a new FIFA World Cup sponsor – as the “first international soccer competition to land in China.” The results will count in the FIFA World Ranking though whether clubs will be forved to release players is unknown.

The plan is for the China Cup will be held annually, initially featuring competitions between four teams and gradually building up to eight teams in the future. In addition to China, other participating nations will be among the world’s top-ranking national A teams.

The first China Cup comes as China’s national team prepares to compete for a spot in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Starting from 2018, the China Cup will invite countries from Europe and the Americas whose teams have the highest skill levels, enabling international football stars to play in front of a vast number of Chinese soccer fans on the stage of the China Cup.

Wanda has spent the last two years in more than 100 negotiations, undergoing major work to gain the final approval from the Chinese Football Association, Asian Football Confederation and FIFA to bring “China Cup” into reality.