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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Naturalised footballers in China to be taught Party history, patriotism

Learning the Communist party’s history and Chinese language are now part of the mandatory skillsets required for naturalised Chinese footballers to play the game in China.

world Updated: Mar 31, 2019 18:49 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
A new edict passed by the Chinese Football Association (CFA), the country’s football watchdog, says that naturalised Chinese footballers should be well-versed about local culture, the symbolism of the country’s flag and be taught lessons on patriotism.
A new edict passed by the Chinese Football Association (CFA), the country’s football watchdog, says that naturalised Chinese footballers should be well-versed about local culture, the symbolism of the country’s flag and be taught lessons on patriotism. (REUTERS File Photo)
         

Exceptional skill will not be enough anymore for naturalised Chinese citizens to play football in China. Learning the Communist party’s history and Chinese language are now part of the mandatory skillsets required for naturalised Chinese footballers to play the game in the country.

A new edict passed by the Chinese Football Association (CFA), the country’s football watchdog, says that naturalised Chinese footballers should be well-versed about local culture, the symbolism of the country’s flag and be taught lessons on patriotism.

The guidelines add that the players should be taught China’s national situation and national conditions.

“Naturalised players should be given traditional Chinese cultural education and learn Chinese history and the situation,” read the new regulation released by the CFA and quoted by state media last week.

“Clubs should make a Chinese language learning plan and maintain patriotism. Naturalised players should be able to tell the national flag and emblem and sing the national anthem,” the regulation said.

The regulations also put the onus on clubs to track the players’ progress in learning the history of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) and their thoughts.

The clubs must submit a report on the progress to the CFA every month.

“Grass-rooted Party organisations should promote and teach the history and basic theories of the Communist Party of China,” it read.

Clubs should assign people to be responsible for tracking the naturalized players’ thoughts, life, training and matches, and hand in a report to the CFA every month.

China has been recruiting foreign players of Chinese origin to raise playing standards in the domestic league and in international competitions.

“Among those taking up the offer are Norway’s Chinese-born Hou Yongyong, who now plays for Beijing Guoan and Nico Yennaris, who came up through the Arsenal youth program,” an Associated Press report said.

“Football is arguably the most popular sport in China. According to CFA, the average attendance at the Chinese Super League (CSL) games in 2017 was 23,766, making it one of the world’s best-attended professional football leagues,” official news agency, Xinhua said in a report.

“Yet it has been a source of embarrassment for years for millions of the Chinese fans, as their national team had ever qualified for the FIFA World Cup once, in 2002, when they were stopped in the group stage without scoring a single goal,” the report added.

It remains to be seen whether a dose of patriotism and history will improve the standards of Chinese football; China is currently ranked 72 in the world.

First Published: Mar 31, 2019 18:48 IST