CHINA TOPIX

Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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China Football: Stoke City trains 60 Chinese coaches in England

Stoke City head coach Mark Hughes

(Photo : Getty Images) Stoke City FC had accepted to train 60 Chinese association football coaches in Staffordshire, England.

English Premier League side Stoke City FC had accepted to train 60 Chinese association football coaches in Staffordshire, England in line with the country's move to become a world superpower of the sport by the year 2050.

The 12-week program was initiated by the Chinese government and will train and educate 60 Chinese coaches not only on actual tactical football coaching but also "lessons in psychology, physiology and nutrition," as reported by BBC Sport.

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The Chinese government reportedly invested millions of pounds in the said program, who will be conducted by the Potters and the University of Staffordshire, where most of the sessions will be held, although the exact figures were not released publicly yet.

It is not yet known whether Potters head coach Mark Hughes will also be involved in the said three-month training.

Stoke City is set to open their 2016-2017 English Premier League campaign against newly-promoted side Middlesbrough FC on Saturday. The team finished ninth place last season with a 14-15-9 win-loss-draw record, Hughes' third full season with the squad.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham Mail noted that China's aim to be a football superpower by 2050 has taken considerable strides with the recent mass acquisitions of European clubs by Chinese investors.

The recent Chinese takeover of English clubs Aston Villa, Birmingham City, West Brom, and Wolverhampton Wanderers are said to be unprecedented in history. And that is not counting Chinese investors also buying out majority stakes in Italy, with Inter Milan and AC Milan, and Spain, after Chinese businessman Wang Jianlin bought a 20 percent stake of Atletico Madrid.

The report noted that this massive growth in China football is not only fueled by the enthusiasm of the country's leaders to promote the sport locally and globally, but also because of the huge Chinese football market, with "an estimate of more than 600 million people" following the sport in China alone.

Since president Xi's term started in 2013, the Chinese government had disclosed its goal of training 50 million children and young people to play football before 2020 and that endeavor will need a lot more football coaches than the country has now.

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