File photo of Zhang Jian, the head of Chinese Football Association. (Photo / chinanews.com)
CHANGSHA - The new role could provide an avenue for the convergence of Chinese football and the global football culture. Furthermore, it could prove a crucial early step for China to someday host a FIFA World Cup, said newly elected FIFA council member.
Earlier this month, Zhang, the current senior vice president and General Secretary of the Chinese Football Association, was elected to the FIFA council at the 27th AFC Congress 2017 in Manama, Bahrain.
He told Xinhua at the 2017 World Soccer Forum here he believes he can do more for the Chinese soccer in the new position.
"It is a good outlook for Chinese Football after our internal, revolutionary reform. I wish to best integrate Chinese football with not only the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) but also global emergence," says Zhang, "Internationally, the expansion of Chinese football market means more benefits and opportunities for all that's in the industry."
Still catching up with the top level of the footballing world, Zhang says the Asian football industry has much work to do in order to close the gap.
Despite these challenges, Zhang says that anything is possible for Chinese football.
"I believe in a bright future because not only does Asia represent a majority of the world's population, it also has one of the richest and biggest economic markets," he said.
Commentators have already predicted that China may bid to host the 2034 World Cup, but this speculation was later dismissed by the Chinese Football Association through a formal statement.
The FIFA council consists of 37 members after recent the structural reform with one president, eight vice-presidents, and 28 other members elected by member associations.