Reporter Jin Cuo reports On October 31st, local time, Song Kai, the new president of China Football Association, appeared at the AFC Annual Awards Ceremony, which was his first visit since he took office. Song Kai’s move hoped to restart China’s football diplomacy and open up the situation.
In January this year, Du Zhaocai, then vice-chairman and secretary of the Party Committee of the Football Association, was elected as a director of FIFA, with 18 votes at the bottom, and was unable to be re-elected. Due to the special regulations of the AFC (only one election was allowed), China Football was "aphasia" in the executive committee of the highest institution of the AFC for the first time.
Subsequently, the chairmen and vice-chairmen of the 16 committees under the AFC were adjusted, and no one in the China Football Association was elected.
However, according to the current "status" of China football, whether it is elected as a director or not has little influence, because even when Zhang Jian and Du Zhaocai were directors, it didn’t bring much help to China football. Even when Du Zhaocai was the chairman of the arbitration committee, China football didn’t even benefit from it, and even suffered a lot when facing the West Asian teams.
In fact, after Zhang Jilong, China’s football diplomacy or "foreign affairs" has been "aphasia". Since then, neither Zhang Jian nor Du Zhaocai has done it, especially Du Zhaocai.
That is to say, after Zhang Jilong’s retirement, China’s football diplomacy has been broken, and the "advantages" of Chen Chengda, Xu Fang and Zhang Jilong, which come down in one continuous strain, are gone.
For Song Kai, there are many things to do after taking over the mess of China Football Association. Youth training and league matches are very important. Judging from his trip to Doha, football diplomacy has not been neglected, or an open attitude.
In the past, some leaders of the Football Association actually did not attach importance to football diplomacy, and some were jealous and some were disdainful of Zhang Jilong’s contribution. Despite Zhang Jilong’s persuasion, Nan Yong "formed an alliance" with Haman, then president of the Asian Football Association, and got a temporary "pleasure" for a football player in China. At that time, he was full of pride. "What football diplomacy is, it’s just interests."
Nan Yong’s words have some truth. "Interests" are indeed fundamental, but connections are also indispensable. Otherwise, there is no channel for "mutual benefit", or why do people believe you? Haman took over at that time, mainly because he was under siege and needed an "exit".
At present, the situation in the AFC is that "the west wind overwhelms the east wind", and for many years, it is very difficult for China football to regain its voice, which Song Kai should be aware of.
In 2013, with the support of Blatter, Salman ascended the presidency of the AFC, and was re-elected for three times since then. The latest term is in 2027. From the current point of view, he has completely controlled the AFC, with no opponents, and his power is better than that of Haman. His secretariat manages almost everything.
Over the years, China’s football diplomacy has been guided by the principle of "following the establishment", which has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that you can sometimes have a sip of soup, but the disadvantage is that you can only have soup.
Previously, China football could not speak because it could not bring "benefits". At that time, many sponsors of the AFC were Japanese and Korean companies, while there were almost no in China; Later, China enterprises participated extensively, but did not express their due "interest demands". They only paid money and did nothing.
For China football, a good opportunity is that an enterprise in China won the business development right of AFC for 8 years (from 2021 to 2028) for 2.4 billion US dollars in 2018. Unfortunately, due to the epidemic, the company lost money for years and was unable to pay the relevant funds, so it had to re-sign the contract and give up most of the benefits. Among them, AFC suffered heavy losses, and China football was also negatively affected.
Since then, China Football Association gave up the right to host the Asian Cup, which also caused dissatisfaction with the Asian Football Association. Among them, Du Zhaocai’s "inaction" was involved.
Therefore, in a certain period of time in the future, China football must regain its "trust" and establish new "contacts" with the world football. Song Kai revealed that the China Football Association is discussing matters related to hosting the World Youth Championship and the World Youth Championship.
In addition, China enterprises that sponsor FIFA and AFC must form a joint force and work closely with the Football Association to maximize the interests of all parties.
During his stay in Doha, Song Kai first met with AFC President Salman and talked with some AFC leaders. Accompanied by Song Kai, Luo Zhao, who has worked in the Foreign Affairs Department of the Football Association for many years, is very familiar with many things about the AFC.
Later on October 30th, local time, Song Kai met Salman on the day he arrived in Doha. Salman congratulated Song Kai on his election as president of China Football Association and reiterated that AFC will continue to cooperate with China Football Association. "I believe that under the leadership of Mr. Song Kai, China football will be promoted to a higher level." Salman said that he was concerned about Song Kai’s remarks. "We have seen the determination of the leadership of the new China Football Association." Song Kai expressed his appreciation and welcome for Salman’s commitment. Salman revealed that the AFC will have a series of concrete development plans to help China’s football continue to develop.
On the 31st, on the day of the AFC Awards Ceremony, Song Kai also had a talk with relevant people of AFC. Although he didn’t have a thorough understanding, he at least laid a foundation. In fact, Zhang Jilong once said that China’s football diplomacy is nothing more than four words: making friends.
Of course, it is whimsical to expect Song Kai to restart football diplomacy at once and even achieve results. After all, he is only a "newcomer", but at least, he has taken the first step. In the future, under the guidance of the policy of "making friends", he will be down-to-earth and may recover lost ground.