Italian football federation signs deal with Chinese government

Italy's football federation (FIGC) on Sunday signed an agreement with the Chinese government to develop footballing ties between the two countries.

The wide-ranging memorandum penned at FIGC headquarters in Rome concerns the development of the game in China, as well as the spread of Italian football in the Asian superpower.

"It's an historical meeting, full of significance," said FIGC president Gabriele Gravina after meeting with China Media Group head Shen Haixiong.

Shen added: "Italian football is much followed in China through coaches, players and teams, they are all very well known.

"We want to promote the football industry."

The agreement will see the development of cultural exchanges, cooperation in sports medicine, training with particular attention to VAR (video assistant referee), and exchange of players and coaches, marketing and communication.

"Thanks to this opportunity football has once again proved to be bridge between different cultures," said Gravina.

"We want to contribute in proactive way to bring Italy closer to China and China to Italy."

The agreement could also see the playing of a Serie A match, the Italian Super Cup or Italian Cup in China within the next three years.

Italian World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro was appointed coach of the Chinese national team earlier this month, spearheading the ambitious country's attempts to become a footballing force.

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