By sportswriter Wang Zijiang
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Stephen Perry, chairman of the 48 Group Club in UK, said that China should build joint ventures with major European clubs to help improve the levels of football.
Chinese football fans experienced a disappointing FIFA World Cup since their national team had not qualified for world's most important football event since 2002.
"China has contained in every sector the foreigners share. Now they are thinking of allowing the foreigners to take leading positions in some sectors because they are confident they know how to control abuse by the foreigner. In football there are no foreigners present. Why?" said Perry, a die hard Arsenal fan, in an recent interview with Xinhua.
"Why does China not use in football the method it uses in every other sector? The joint venture as a medium of exchange where the foreigner gains preferred access to the Chinese domestic market in exchange for access to technology?"
"The world's best players can play anywhere in the world, it depends upon platforms. If you bring foreign clubs into China, they can help the process of change. But it is necessary to create the bigger plan first then invite the clubs to access the China market as part of that plan."
The 66-year-old Perry, also managing director of London Export Corporation, an Anglo-Chinese trading group, failed an attempt to buy shares in the company as a means of keeping Arsenal in multiple ownership.
Perry brought West Bromwich Albion to Beijing to take on the Chinese national team on August 1, 1979, making the then third-placed first division club the first west European football team in China.
He said that China should have a clear target and plan to develop its football. They are not just to build a strong league, but "to have a major Chinese presence in global football with a plan to ensure that is reflected with a significant presence in China."
To this end, China should learn from the English clubs to attract foreign investment and talents.
"The British invented many things but foreigners took them over and globalised them. England created a high value football sector which attracted billionaires and global investors. The British may lose out in the added value but we are at the centre of the football world even though our national team is second class, and our footballers are not very advanced compared to world standards."
But before doing this, he said China should take a real step changing ideas and thinking to achieve the goal.
"It (football) is a very sophisticated structure and one where the top clubs have squeezed out all other Western nations leagues and global leagues. The route for moving players into the top TV filmed nations is controlled by the same structure.
"The structure contains a considerable power in the hands of agents who often source the players from global origins and huge off balance sheet and on balance sheet payments are made into this structure."
"China needs to view this globally as it did in the period leading up to and after 1978. From then to 2002, when China joined WTO, China made a huge research and from that experiments and plans to activate a successful policy to create global trading, and the later - more recently - global investment.
He said that China has wasted 40 years trying to develop home grown talent and clubs. But in the long run, China is the only major country in the world that can rise as a powerful football nation.
"China can do it because China can think strategically and research and plan a set of policies that recognise world power and how to enter and change it."
He said what China should do first is to plan and first of all China should decide at the highest level it wants to be a part of football power.
"If it is embraced at the highest level then China can transform the world of football.
"I do not think it is difficult to develop a policy to use China's huge football market, the power of its brands, and foreign brands who want to reach Asian and other markets.
"The TV power only arises through advertising, and whilst subscription and purchase of rights is important, the driving force is advertising and promotion of brands. These power are the clubs, the TV and the players.
"China needs to recognise that the key is major corporate budgets and they follow top players. China's route to success lies in allying with other Asian nations to move the centre of gravity of global football more into Asia."
"It can be done," Perry said.