Financial Times: Italian football league plans competitive match in China

22 March 2019

Serie A
Photo: Getty Images Executives from Serie A and the Italian football federation are in talks with executives at China Media Group, the main state broadcaster, about plans to hold a competitive match in China.

According to media reports, executives in top football organizations in Italy and China are planning to hold a match in China.

The plans are part of efforts to cement economic and cultural ties between the two countries

Peter Høyer ph@offthepitch.com

Executives from Serie A and the Italian football federation are in talks with executives at China Media Group, the main state broadcaster, about plans to hold a competitive match in China. 

Plans which seek to strengthen ties between the two countries as Chinese president Xi Jinping begins a European tour this Friday.

According to a draft agreement seen by Financial Times, Italy’s football federation and league will seek to organise a game in China “in the next three years and with an adequate budget”. 

But whether the plans will be finalised is doubtful

Financial Times reports that the football agreement also contains a proposal from the Italian federation for a multi-year agreement to aid Chinese companies looking to invest in Italy’s Serie A clubs. 

But whether the plans will be finalised is doubtful, as FIFA earlier has put a stopper to plans of fixtures in non-European countries. For example, La Liga which had to postpone plans to hold a competitive fixture in the US this season because FIFA president Gianni Infantino said that “official league matches must be played within the territory of the respective member association”.

Unnerving to European allies

In President Xi’s tour a ceremony will be held on Saturday marking Italy’s formal endorsement of Beijing’s global investment push, Belt and Road Initiative, which aims is to build an intercontinental network between China, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America, and Africa. 

According to Financial Times, Italy has unnerved its European and American allies by becoming the first of the G7 countries to endorse the Chinese initiative. The fear is that the initiative favours Chinese companies and is being used to further boost Beijing’s strategic and military influence.