MOSCOW — Sun Chunlan, the special envoy of President Xi Jinping and vice-premier of China, met FIFA President Gianni Infantino and AFC President Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa in Moscow, Russia on June 14 ahead of her attendance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony.
Sun relayed good wishes to Infantino from Chinese President Xi and recalled the FIFA president’s visit to China last year.
“Mr Infantino had a successful visit to China last year and met with President Xi, when a new chapter of comprehensive cooperation was unveiled between Chinese football and FIFA,” said Sun.
“The World Cup is a global football gala and a great feast for fans worldwide. There will be hundreds of thousands of Chinese fans visiting Russia to attend matches, or watch television coverage of the games. Several Chinese enterprises are sponsoring the tournament,” added Sun.
Sun also emphasized the importance attached to the development of football in China. “Having been personally championed by President Xi, the structure of China’s football reform is being developed. Football culture is constantly popularized, the construction of pitches and facilities has increased, and there has been greater emphasis on youth football training and professionalization.”
The vice-premier added, “The promotion of football development has become a national strategy, which has received a positive response from the public. The Chinese government will continue its efforts to create a favorable environment for the sport.”
“We are willing to carry out more international exchanges and learn from the experience of more developed footballing nations. We also hope FIFA can provide more support for Chinese football.”
Infantino asked Sun to send his best regards to President Xi and added that FIFA thinks highly of China’s reform efforts in the promotion and development of football.
“I believe China can play a more important role in helping the development of football worldwide. FIFA is glad to have more exchanges and cooperation with China and will help and support China’s football development as always,” said Infantino.
Sun praised the AFC’s effective work in football’s development and prosperity in Asia and expressed thanks to Asian football’s governing body for its support of Chinese football during her meeting with Sheikh Salman.
Sheikh Salman spoke highly of China’s footballing reforms and achievements, remarking positively on China’s contribution to football expansion in Asia, and adding that deeper cooperation with China will hopefully help to further promote the sport across Asia.