Goals go beyond star players

Updated: 2015-03-19 07:52

(China Daily)

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Goals go beyond star players

Students of a primary school in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi province, play football. [Photo/IC]

China's ongoing soccer reform is not aimed at nurturing excellent players alone, if indeed it does, it is also intended to set up a sound system to promote the development of the sport in the country, says an abridged article from China Youth Daily.

Following the publication of a comprehensive program for soccer reform and development by the Chinese government on Monday, the Japanese Sankei Shimbun cited a British poll as saying the program may lead to the emergence of 7,000 stars like Lionel Messi across China.

Responding to foreign acclaim of China's new soccer reforms, some Chinese netizens who have been discouraged by China's poor soccer performances have felt a sense of excessive flattery. Considering China's poor soccer record and the series of controversies and scandals involving soccer over the past years, no Chinese dares to believe a number of Messi-like soccer players will soon emerge in the country.

The reform does offer people hope that its soccer overhaul will surely bring some surprises, given that the extent of reforms being launched is unprecedented. People have reason to believe the sport will really develop in a professional and healthy way through the targeted reforms.

China may have the world's largest population of soccer fans, but the number of its professional soccer players is small. It has less than 30,000 registered teenage football players nationwide, compared with more than 60,000 in Tokyo alone.

There is no shortcut for China to boost its soccer performance. It must try to expand the numbers of professional players in the country and remove institutional constraints hampering the development of the sport. The reform will open a broad space for China's soccer development, but the key lies in how to ensure measures are effectively implemented.