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By Li Qing
After 29 days of intense competition, the 2022 FIFA World Cup came to a close on December 18 in Qatar. In the final, Argentina’s national football team won a penalty shootout victory over France to take its third-ever world cup championship after 36 years. In the midst of football fans’ World Cup joys and sorrows, one piece of news from Qingdao City in east China’s Shandong Province has drawn attention both inside and outside China.
According to Qingdao’s latest plan for football development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), the city will bid to host major international events such as the FIFA Club World Cup and World Cup, as well as domestic competitions organized by the Chinese Football Association. The plan makes Qingdao the first Chinese city to show ambition for bidding to host the World Cup.
The city, which is about the size of Qatar, has shown up in many international competitions. For example, Hisense, a Qingdao-based consumer electronics company, is one of the official sponsors of the 2022 World Cup. However, unlike the Olympics, only countries or a coalition of those that can provide at least 12 football venues can bid for the World Cup. That means Qingdao’s dream won’t be realized without support at the national level.
In 2015, the State Council unveiled an overall plan for the reform and development of football, which contained plans to bid to host the World Cup and for the national football team to compete in it, in addition to competing in the Olympic Games.
Putting aside the bid, the more urgent work for China is to enhance football skills at all levels. And the plan issued by Qingdao shows its determination to develop football among its residents. The city also proposes to upgrade infrastructure, with 1.5 football fields per 10,000 people, so that more people can participate in the sport.
Copyedited by G.P. Wilson
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Source: Web Exclusive