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FIFA chief rebukes China over lack of football planning

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Aug 2008

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China must put in place short and long-term plans and seek continuity of programs if it is to make an impact in international football, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said here Thursday.

Blatter said there were no miracle short-term cures to being successful in international football and China must put in the hard work to achieve that.

While China has excelled in a growing range of sports at the Olympics, the product of years of single-minding planning the national football team has had a dire year.

China has lost out in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup and made an early exit from its own Beijing Olympic football competition with just one point from three group games.

Blatter, speaking at a FIFA press conference, said China must start with instituting successful programs for teams at international under-17 and 20 level rather than just hiring big-name coaches seeking a quick fix.

“In football there are no miracles, in football there is hard work to be done with the under-17, under-20 and Olympic under-23 teams,” he said.

Blatter cited statistics of winners of FIFA’s youth competitions since their inception in 1977 showing that Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria and Ghana have been regularly successful before players progressed to their senior teams.

“Where teams are successful at the youth level you have also have good international teams,” Blatter said. “That is the logic.

“China should start again with the young players and not artificially hire a national coach and change it every year.

“There must be some continuity, there must be a plan, there must be short and long term planning.

“The organisation of the (Beijing) Olympics will give an impact to the development of football here, but when you’ve seen your men’s team going out in the first round then people are naturally not happy with them.”

Blatter’s rebuke followed criticism of the Chinese Football Association by former national captain Fan Zhiyi after China’s disappointing early exit at the Beijing Olympics.

“It should have been a chance for Chinese soccer to be honored, but in the end it was dishonored. What has gone wrong there?” Fan said

Fan said the CFA needed to take a long hard look at what went wrong.

“Now Chinese soccer is confronted with its biggest ever crisis, our grassroots is withering, our professional league is also spiralling downward and can produce few quality players,” he added.

“Who should be responsible for all these mess-ups?”

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