Members of the Premier League delegation pose with teachers and students from Guzhou No. 2 Primary School in Rongjiang county, southwest China's Guizhou province on Nov 26, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
GUIYANG - A two-day visit by an English Premier League (EPL) delegation to promote future football cooperation with the Village Super League (VSL) which was dubbed as "Cun Chao" by Chinese netizens came to an end on Monday in Rongjiang county, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou province.
"I think 'Cun chao' is great, and I have felt the locals' great passion for football here in Rongjiang," said Graham Robinson, a representative of the delegation, and also the International Consultant of the EPL.
Robinson added that he hoped that the cooperation on football training and other related fields between the two leagues could get better, based on their in-depth understanding of Rongjiang's football situation gained through the visit.
The purpose of the delegation's visit is to better understand the current situation of Rongjiang's football, so as to better help promote its football development in the future.
Peng Xixi, head of the Village Super League operation and management office
The delegation went to Rongjiang's primary and secondary schools such as the Guizhou No. 2 Primary School and the Gaopai Primary School, observed a friendly match between two VSL teams, and discussed with VSL players, coaches and referees.
"The purpose of the delegation's visit is to better understand the current situation of Rongjiang's football, so as to better help promote its football development in the future," said Peng Xixi, head of the VSL operation and management office.
According to Peng, the VSL, which went viral on the Internet this summer and drew the attention of the nation, helped Rongjiang attract more than 5.19 million tourists for a comprehensive income of 5.986 billion yuan (837 million) from May 13 to Oct 28 this year.
The delegation marveled at the huge economic and social benefits in Rongjiang, mainly produced by the help of the VSL, and also resonated with the football passion displayed by the Rongjiang citizens.
The Premier League delegation poses for photos with Chinese Village Super League players in Rongjiang county, southwest China's Guizhou province on Nov 26, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
"During the period of the VSL, I went to Rongjiang to watch matches and I was deeply impressed by the lively scenes and the influx of spectators attracted by the competitions," said Warren Leat, a delegation member, and also football development manager at British Council, who will return to Rongjiang in mid-December to conduct training courses for the local players and coaches.
This was Robinson's first trip to Guizhou, and he was deeply impressed by the locals' football passion.
Sports teach people life skills and promote people's development. So let's see what will happen in our future cooperation with the VSL.
Graham Robinson, a representative of the delegation, and also the International Consultant of the English Premier League
When visiting the Gaopai Primary School, Robinson offered Mo Shengkai, a grade-one student, a red egg presented by the local Miao ethnic people to the delegation, praising him for his excellent performance in the training course.
"I was so impressed by the students' passion for football, and also by the training methods their football coach, and also their school principal Wu Dongsheng took," he said.
After the friendly match between the two VSL teams, both Robinson and Leat went onto the pitch, shook hands with the players and encouraged them with praise.
"Well done today, it's really great to see you all playing football with such great passion," said Leat, adding that he hopes they could continue to maintain their enthusiasm, tactics and teamwork spirit.
Robinson was glad to find that the VSL empowered the locals.
"Sports teach people life skills and promote people's development. So let's see what will happen in our future cooperation with the VSL," said Robinson.
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