French football bodies open Beijing office

Updated 2017-02-17 10:00:55 Global Times

The French Football Federation (FFF) and the French Football League (LFP) announced Thursday they will open a new shared office in Beijing, China.

The purpose of the Beijing office will be to raise the profile of French football leagues in China, increase local interactions, execute strategic plans, and to find Chinese broadcast partners and sponsors.

"The opening of the office is an important step in our policy of international development. China has launched an ambitious plan for football," said FFF President Noel le Graet.

"The French Federation had to accompany this dynamic in the most populated country on the planet and one of the most dynamic countries in the world."

In the recent year, four Chinese companies have invested clubs in French football leagues, including a high-profile investment in Ligue 1 club Nice, who are currently third in the French top flight.

"For several months our exchanges with our Chinese counterparts have been intensifying, thanks notably to the arrival of investors in French professional clubs," said Nathalie Boy de la Tour, LFP President.

"We are delighted to be back in China with the opening of this office ... It is an unprecedented step in the history of French football which will help us bring to fruition our international ambitions."

Many French football stars have become household names in China - including Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and current Les Bleus head coach Didier Deschamps - after the French national team won the 1998 home World Cup.

In 2014, the Trophée des Champions, the championship match between Ligue 1 winners and Coupe de France winners, was held at the Workers' Stadium in Beijing, during which Paris Saint-Germain won 2-0 over Guingamp.

It is the first time for a football association of any country to have an official base in China.

The news comes a week ahead of French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve's visit to China, the first European leader to visit China in 2017.

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