China Under-20s could join German fourth division

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Football in China: Will China become a 'world football superpower'?

China's Under-20s team could play in the German fourth division next season.

Only 19 teams have qualified for the regional southwest league, with the German FA (DFB) inviting China to enter a team and create an even fixture list.

League executive Felix Wiedmann told German paper Bild "all 19 clubs" were in favour, adding: "I therefore believe the project is on a good path."

China has set out its desire to become a "world football superpower" by 2050 and challenge for the World Cup.

DFB vice president Ronny Zimmermann told Kicker magazine teams would receive 15,000 euros each for the two matches against the Chinese youngsters.

"They see this idea positively," said Zimmermann. "The planned cooperation with China is known and for that we need good content."

The plan is part of a five-year cooperation agreement signed between the two countries in November, which will allow China to boost its level of football and the German FA to have a facilitated access to the vast Asian market.

"We have to see if this idea can be realised," added Zimmermann.

"The managers of the regional southwest league will meet soon. A decision must be taken by then as the match plan will be drawn up."

China has explored similar ventures in other sports, with ice hockey side Kunlun Red Star joining the Canadian Women's Hockey League in the build-up to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

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