British Consul-General Shanghai John Edwards made a special appearance with Manchester United coaches, former team legends and a group of school children in Shanghai on 21 July at an exclusive football training session to promote Football is GREAT.
During his remarks, John said:
Britain is the home of modern football, and we have the best footballers and teams – that is why we started the Football is GREAT campaign. It is a sport that can help to build collaborations and trust among people, and the courage to never give up.
Since 2009, the British Council has been building football links between the UK and China through its Premier Skills football training programme, a partnership with the Premier League. We expect this program to benefit Chinese youth by enhancing their skills on the pitch and building their confidence, leadership skills, and cross-cultural understanding.
Taking part in the event were Manchester United ambassadors Dwight Yorke, Denis Irwin, Manchester United Soccer School coaches and a total of 20 grades three to four students from Rihui Xincun Primary in Shanghai’s Xuhui District. It marks Manchester United’s grassroots football collaboration with China’s Ministry of Education. As parents and teachers looked on, the children brushed up on basic skills in a series of mini lessons designed to help them improve their skills as well as become more confident and relaxed with football.
In 2015, UK and China has reached agreements to deepen co-operation in football development, including sending UK coaches to China, and training young Chinese players through study visits to the UK. A joint accreditation system in for football coaching is currently being developed, which will greatly facilitate such mutual exchanges.