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Posted October 5th, 2017 by Jasmine Lui
As a world leader in technological innovation and an economic superpower, China is now turning its attention to the sports sector - more specifically, the world of football. By ploughing the equivalent of hundreds of millions of pounds into footballing provisions, the Chinese government hopes to make China a ‘world class footballing nation’ in the next 10 years.
Director Gary Johnson recently attended ‘2017 China sports mission to UK’ at Silverstone, as part of the UK Sports Consortium, to discuss ways in which grassroots football can be developed across China.
“One of the main issues facing China right now is that although they have the funds to invest in top-end professional facilities; these are standing empty without the talent to fill them.
“In order to solve this problem, the idea is to develop football facilities at a grassroots level to encourage community groups to get involved which, over time, will trickle its way up to the top.
“As part of the UK Sports Consortium, LK2 is working alongside Gleeds, and Notts Sport to pool our knowledge as consultants and our experience of delivering high quality sports facilities to help with this.
“Working closely with the UK’s Department for International trade. The event at Silverstone was a chance for us and the rest of the consortium to present to some of the major figures in China – including the investment developing director for Suning Real Estate Groupa and CEOs of major Chinese sports clubs.
“Not only did it give us a chance to present previous projects we have delivered, such as Keele University and the award-winning Market Road pitches in Islington, but we were also able to present our Sportslab concept to show how current spaces - such as retail parks and shopping centres - can be repurposed to accommodate extra sports facilities for community groups.
“The feedback from delegates was overwhelmingly positive, particularly about Sportslab. This is the first time anyone from the UK has approached them on the issue of community sports, and the idea of repurposing current spaces was one which really appealed – particularly in built-up areas of China where space is scarce.
“There is also a real cultural shift happening in China, as families are starting to recognise the benefits of sports and recreation time for children in terms of wellbeing and quality of life, and so a gap in the market is emerging for these kinds of facilities.
“Overall this is a really exciting opportunity for the team at LK2. We’ve already carved out a niche in the market with our expertise in sport and leisure, and we’re now seeing opportunities for us to get ahead of the market and take it global.”