Sun, Mar 24, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Italian soccer to grow China ties

AP, ROME

Playing the Supercoppa Italiana or Coppa Italia final in China are to be among the proposals discussed when a delegation linked to the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with the Italian Football Federation today.

The meeting with China Media Group head Shen Haixiong is also to focus on TV content, collaboration over developing young Chinese players in Italy and instruction for using the video assistant referee.

The federation hopes to play games in China within the next three years, according to a meeting agenda seen by reporters on Friday, although it said that moving Serie A games to China is not up for consideration.

There could also be friendly matches between national teams and courses for Chinese coaches.

There are already strong soccer ties between the nations, with former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro succeeding former Italy coach Marcello Lippi as coach of China.

Cannavaro’s first game was a 1-0 loss to Thailand in the opening match of the four-nation China Cup on Thursday.

The Supercoppa Italiana — which pits the Serie A champion against the Coppa Italia champion — has already been played in China four times over the past 10 years.

This year’s Supercoppa Italiana was played in Saudi Arabia as part of a deal with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority that calls for two more of the matches over the next four years to be played in the Gulf country.

Zhang Jindong, owner of Suning and Inter, accompanied Xi during his visit to Italy and took advantage of the opportunity to meet with Inter’s Italian managers while in Rome.

On Thursday, Inter announced a pre-season tour of Asia, which could include up to two matches in China, plus one in Singapore.

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