Gan Yuping (2nd L) of Hangzhou Xingzhou Primary School goes for goal during a China Youth Football League (CYFL) U-12 Zhejiang Division match in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province, July 10, 2022. (Xinhua/Jiang Han)
The inaugural China Youth Football League, established to promote youth football in China, officially kicked off on Sunday.
HANGZHOU, July 10 (Xinhua) -- The first edition of the China Youth Football League (CYFL) officially opened in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province on Sunday.
The CYFL, co-organized by China's Ministry of Education, the State General Administration of Sport and the Chinese Football Association (CFA), is the first football competition open to all youth teams nationwide in China, regardless of their background.
"The CFA will provide the best resources to support the CYFL. It gives opportunities for all youngsters to participate in football competitions, to enjoy the beautiful game and then foster young talent for our future development. I hope it can unfold a new chapter of Chinese youth football development," said CFA president and CYFL office director Chen Xuyuan.
Officials from the Chinese Football Association declare open the first edition of the China Youth Football League, July 10, 2022. (Xinhua/Jiang Han)
According to the CYFL schedule, the league matches will be categorized into 18 groups, nine for male (U-8, U-9, U-10, U-11, U-12, U-13, U-15, U-17, U-19) and nine for female (U-8, U-9, U-10, U-11, U-12, U-13, U-15, U-17, College-age).
Teams of each group will first play regional qualifying matches, with the qualifying teams proceeding to championship tournament. The U-13 males will be the first age group to play their championship tournament, held from July 31 to August 22.
China has vowed to raise its football team up to the level of the world's leading nations. To this end, authorities have released a number of guiding policy documents since 2015, including reforming the CFA and the professional leagues, improving campus and community football and increasing the number of facilities available to players, teams and clubs at all levels of the sport. ■