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Minister says soccer should not replace other sports

( Updated: 2015-03-30 13:26

Minister says soccer should not replace other sports

Boys demonstrate soccer skills at opening ceremony of the R&F Soccer School in Meizhou, Guangdong province, September 19, 2013. The school, a joint project between Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F and English Premier giant Chelsea, has enrolled 140 students aged 8-12 this year.The English club has sent a number of technical staff to help youth training at the school. [Photo by Qiu Quanlin/Asianewsphoto]

China's sports minister said soccer should not take the place of other sports at school, but rather help lead their development, Beijing Times reported Monday.

Liu Peng, Minister of General Administration of Sport in China, said promoting soccer at school does not mean it should replace other sports.

He stressed that all sports should be fully developed although soccer does play a special role in leading sports development.

Liu's comments came after media reports that some places were putting a stop to other sports in order to promote soccer after China unveiled a soccer reform plan.

The ambitious plan, passed last month by China's central reform group, chaired by President Xi Jinping, aims to increase schools featuring soccer from 5000 to 20,000 in 2020 and 50,000 in 2025.

Some media reports, citing a statement released by the provincial education department in East China's Shandong province, said the provincial authorities will suspend basketball and volleyball leagues at universities this year, but will include soccer in campus tournaments.

The education department later deleted the statement from its official website and denied that they would suspend basketball and volleyball leagues, saying the media had misinterpreted their comments.

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