Wesley Hull previews TEAM China in the lead up to the 2014 International Cup on World Footy News. An excerpt of the article is reproduced below.
China returns for their third consecutive International Cup and will be keen to show off their new look squad to an unsuspecting audience. Following on from their fifth placing in Division 2 in 2011 (which was already an improvement on their 15th placing in the 2008 debut), this year’s squad has been working solidly across a range of areas and expect to ruffle more than a few feathers.
The Country and Australian Football
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the most populous state in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. The PRC exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four directly administered municipalities (Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and the capital city- Beijing), as well as two special administrative regions (SARs) – Hong Kong and Macau
Since an AFL development officer was first based in China in 2006, it has been a big few years for Australian Football in the region. There has been further and rapid consolidation of clubs in the major cities and the AFL has expanded promotion of the game in local schools and universities. The success and impressive crowd turnout of the Melbourne vs. Brisbane exhibition match in Shanghai in 2010 during the World Expo further exposed the potential for expanding the game into China and the subsequent creation of a purpose built ground in Tianjin in 2011 further validated and developed the opportunities for the game in the country.
As a further show of the growth of the game and growing links back to Australia, Port Adelaide Football Club have this year stood up and underwritten the team’s tour as their major sponsor, showing their continued support for AFL in South China.
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