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Chinese U20 team set to become newest member of German fourth division

The plans are part of a five-year agreement between the nations to help develop Chinese football

Evan Bartlett
Thursday 22 June 2017 11:56 BST
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The under-20 side could join the Regionalliga Sudwest from the start of next season Getty Images
The under-20 side could join the Regionalliga Sudwest from the start of next season Getty Images (Getty Images)

A Chinese under-20 team is set to become the newest member of the German fourth division.

Only 19 sides have qualified for the Regionalliga Südwest (south-west regional league) next season and the league is therefore exploring options to fill up the fixture list.

German tabloid Bild had claimed the Chinese side would become a fully-fledged member of the league but the president of the Regionalliga later clarified that if they do join it will only be to play friendly matches.

"It's important to say that there will be no points at stake, so it won't influence the outcome of the league," Felix Wiedemann said on Thursday.

The plans are part of a five-year agreement between the two countries which will improve Chinese youth football and give Germany greater access to the developing nation's burgeoning market.

Bild reports the initiative could be rubber-stamped during Chinese president Xi Jinping's state visit next month.

China is eager to develop its footballing talent base and sees Germany as an ideal training ground.

President Xi put football on the national curriculum two years ago and is said to have ambitions to host the World Cup in the not too distant future.

Ronny Zimmermann, vice president of the German football association (DFB) told Kicker the idea had been welcomed by the majority of the fourth tier clubs.

"They see this idea positively," Zimmermann told the magazine.

"The planned cooperation with China is known and for that we need good content.

"We have to see if this idea can be realised. The managers of the Regionalliga Südwest will meet soon.

"A decision must be taken by then as the match plan will be drawn up."

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