China Football News: Hebei Province Reveals Plan to Become 'Football Powerhouse' by 2020
North China's Hebei province is planning to boost its football development programs to become a "football powerhouse" by the year 2020, according to latest reports.
Xinhuanet reported that Hebei officials "have issued a mid- to long-term plan for the development of football in the 2016-2050 period", which includes sanctioning 1,000 schools all across the province to include football education in their curricula as well as training millions of young people in the sport.
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Also part of the plan is the launching of several amateur leagues and the renovation and modernization of all football facilities throughout the province.
The sport's condition in Hebei has been in a steady progress over the years, but there are still "many unsolved issues", such as incorrect management, lack of opportunities for grassroots talents, and outdated infrastructures that hinder football's rapid growth.
The report also said that Hebei aims to have at least one team in the Chinese Super League, one club in the China League One, and two squads in the China League Two by the end of the current decade. Additionally, province officials aspire 3,000 men's and women's amateur football clubs to reach top rankings at the national level, as per CCTV English.
Hebei currently has Hebei China Fortune FC representing them in the China top-flight while Shijiazhuang Ever Bright FC is in the China League One. Ever Bright competed in the CSL with Hebei China Fortune last season but was demoted to the Chinese second division after finishing the term in the last place.
Hebei also wants to open six to eight new football academies in addition to putting up "two to three new provincial youth training centers also by 2020".
One of the ways the province will reportedly encourage young people to enroll in football schools is to implement more beneficial policies to those who decide to do so.
When it comes to infrastructure, Hebei's vision is to have "at least one provincial football training base or one for youth football summer camp" for each city in the province and to have two standard football pitches for "every county-level administrative area".