Barcelona to support grassroots programs in China

Spanish football club Barcelona is looking to gain a foothold in the Chinese market by co-operating with the Chinese Football Association. "I've noticed that a lot of European clubs are trying to link up with Chinese clubs but I can tell you frankly we are here not for money," Javier Munoa, Barcelona's International Business Director, told Zhao Rui of China Daily.

"We are here to help Chinese football, from grassroots to professional league, I know there is a lot of work to be done before selling any of our products here. We want to build our image by way of supporting Chinese football. It doesn't happen overnight as we will put our efforts in China in a very long term We want to build a strong foundation in China and that's why we are looking to work with and build co-operation with the CFA," he said.

Munoa said the club is planning to set its sights on China's grassroots football first and is likely to join Vision China, an Asian Football Confederation program that focuses on setting up competitive amateur leagues to attract sponsors and fans.

"Given our long-term cooperation with Chinese football, we need to do some work to know about the culture and people here. I hope to leave some legacy for fans rather than just some commercial matches," he said. As a part of the project, Barcelona will visit Beijing on 5 August.