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Football deal kicks off PM’s trade mission to China

Agreement to be made between Premier League and Chinese Super League to build up football at an elite, youth and community level in China.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The Premier League sees the Chinese market for its matches as having the best growth prospects in the world, at the heart of an East Asian market already worth around £200 million a year to the league and to UK trade.

The new partnership will be sealed in a co-operation agreement due to be initialled at an event in Beijing with Culture Secretary Maria Miller and former England and Chelsea footballer Graeme Le Saux today (2 December). It will include:

  • Premier League working with Chinese Super League and China Football Association on programmes and projects to promote and develop football in China, including with Chinese Super League clubs such as Beijing Guoan and Shanghai Shenhua
  • Chinese Super League to provide support and advice in the promotion and marketing of Premier League and Premier League clubs in China
  • both leagues working together on regular exchanges and training programmes, including delegations from both leagues attending in match days in the other’s country

Premier Skills - coaching and referee training

The Premier League and British Council are also set to announce radical plans to further roll out their Premier Skills coaching and referee training initiative development with the aim of reaching over 1.2 million Chinese students by 2016.

From 2014 to 2016, Premier Skills will be delivered under the Chinese Ministry of Education’s initiative – National University Alliance of Football Education in Community. Premier Skills will be incorporated into the Chinese government’s curriculum to help develop a core group of highly skilled teachers and coaches in China empowered and confident to deliver community and schools football programmes. This will be rubberstamped through a co-operation agreement between the Premier League, British Council and Chinese Ministry of Education signed at today’s event in Beijing.

In addition, the Premier League and British Council are due to launch a partnership with the Chinese Football Association to train over 200 young referees from 2014 to 2016. These coaches and referees, trained by UK experts, will help the long term, healthy development of football in China.

Commenting on Premier League’s expansion in China, the Prime Minister said:

It’s great to kick off this visit to China with such a tangible example of how we are strengthening ties between our peoples and creating business opportunities for British companies along the way. This is a win-win for both the UK and China and demonstrates how our strong relationship can help us both to succeed in the global race.

Chief Executive of the Premier League Richard Scudamore, who is in the Prime Minister’s trade delegation, will also attend today’s event at which 15 Premier Skills Chinese grassroot coaches, who have just completed a training course, will demonstrate their improved skills with over 150 local school students participating in the event. The coaches will be led by head coach Johnnie Garside, Community Coach from Everton FC.

Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said:

British football is renowned all over the world from our clubs to our fans, our players to our history. The strength of the Premier League isn’t just measured by the sheer number of people that watch the games, but the impact it has on people’s lives. Knowing that, it is wonderful that the British Council and Premier League’s Premier Skills programme takes the UK’s football expertise and uses it to create opportunities for young people across the globe, not least in China.

I am delighted to see the positive impact that Premier Skills in China has had on young people and their local communities, will now be extended to many more through this new partnership.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said:

The impact that Premier Skills has had so far in China over these past 5 years is testament to how important we see our role in helping football develop in the country. This exciting new chapter for the programme will see a huge increase in the numbers of teachers and coaches who will receive training from Premier League coach educators, with an estimated 1.2 million young students then benefitting from quality football coaching over these next 3 years.

Through this long-term commitment, we hope that Premier Skills will play a valuable part in growing football’s grassroots in China.

British Council Chief Executive Martin Davidson said:

Premier Skills is a fantastic example of the way the British Council uses the power of sport to engage with young people and connect them to the UK. We are therefore proud of our partnership with the Premier League on this programme.

Adapting Premier Skills to each country it operates in and working with the right partners is key to its success and nowhere is this demonstrated more clearly than in China. I look forward to working closely with the Premier League, Ministry of Education PRC and the Chinese Football Association to take Premier Skills into a new and exciting phase in China.

Published 2 December 2013
Last updated 2 December 2013 + show all updates
  1. Added translation
  2. First published.