Published on : Friday, February 24, 2017
Futbol Club Barcelona (FCB) and Mission Hills Group today announced a landmark collaboration to make Hainan province a hub of football for China and the wider region. The two giants will jointly open a major football academy in Haikou, the island province’s capital city, in the coming months. At the same time, the interactive FC Barcelona experience area will commence operation today in preparation for its grand opening in 2017. “FC Barcelona is delighted to be able to support the growth of the beautiful game in China and help you reach your goal of making this a great footballing nation,” said Josep Maria Bartomeu, president of FCB. “Opening our first 100% FCB-managed football school here in China is a huge commitment. It demonstrates our confidence in our partner Mission Hills and in the future of Hainan, as well as our optimism about the footballing talent we expect to find here.”
“Since 1992 Mission Hills has been helping to popularise sport and leisure in China — including our flagship sports of golf and tennis — and now we are devoting our efforts to football as well. Mission Hills has a grand vision to create a legacy for football in China through a partnership with one of the most-loved football clubs in the world. We believe our footballing dream can act as a platform for a future generation of footballers in China,” said Dr. Ken Chu, Chairman and CEO of Mission Hills Group.
President Xi Jinping, who is known to be a football enthusiast, last year unveiled a vision of China as a “world football superpower by 2050.” His plan calls for China to have 50 million children and adults playing football by 2020 and world-class national teams by 2030.
The partnership between FCB and Mission Hills will help meet these goals by raising the profile of the sport in China and by supporting its growth at the grassroots level. The historic partnership will also bring FCB closer to its fans in the region. The club is a pioneer of international football in Asia. It was the first club to open an office in Hong Kong in 2014 and today counts 14 Asian companies among its sponsors.
Tenniel Chu, Vice Chairman of Mission Hills Group, declared: “We are delighted to join hands with FC Barcelona. We believe that our passion for football among the 1.3 billion population in China is the key for future football development and we hope to share our values and experience with local talents in a humble way.”