It's a TD for AFL in China

Updated: 2013-05-25 07:23

By China Daily (China Daily)

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The Arena Football League is set arrive in China when the first American arena football coach/referee training camp is held from May 27-31 at the Beijing Sports University.

The camp marks the first time the AFL will come to China to hold a professional camp.

"This means that AFL is now officially in China," said Gary Morris, CEO of Ganlan Media International (Beijing) Co Ltd.

The Chinese trainees will be professional coaches and referees from six sports universities - Beijing Sports University, Tianjin University of Sports, Hebei Institute of Physical Education, Wuhan Institute of Physical Education, Shandong Sports University and Xi'an Physical Education University.

"We'll bring over from the United States 12 professionals to China and train Chinese on how to play and teach American football," Morris said, adding the American teachers will also go to the universities to select players and create training courses the week after the camp.

The trainers will be senior coaches and referees hand-picked by Jerry Kurz, the commissioner of the AFL, who will also take part in the camp.

"All six universities displayed great enthusiasm in the training camp," said Wu Hua, president of Ganlan Media and a key figure in bringing the sport to China. "They represent the highest level of sports universities in the country, and have the advantage in overall scale, subject setting and development, student orientation, traditional competitive sports, and so on.

"They make their own plans and select the coaches and referees for the training camp. But the AFL will provide outfits, equipment and other necessities American football needs for the six 24-member teams."

China's first six AFL teams will establish professional systematic training. The universities can compete with each other when conditions permit. They will lay the foundation for the league between these universities and development of professional clubs in the near future, he said.

"Hopefully, we can host a Chinese varsity AFL invitational tournament next April or May," said Wu, adding an All-Star team would be formed to play against the AFL teams in the US in the near future.

(China Daily 05/25/2013 page16)