University of Leicester eBulletin

Leicester Footballers Set to Showcase Talent in China

March 2002

No 60  

First University Soccer Team to Tour China

An audience of up to 3 million is expected to watch a football team from the University of Leicester in an exhibition match just weeks before the World Cup finals.

Footballers from the University have been offered the unprecedented opportunity to act as national ambassadors through a forthcoming tour to the sub-tropical, south-eastern city of Fuzhou in China, between the 17th and the 26th April 2002. 

The city of three million people is the administrative centre of the province of Fujian, an area rich in cultural and scenic beauty and boasting a population of 30 million.

Leicester's hosts in China will be the Fuzhou-Napier College, which specialises in teaching English, Business Studies, and Applied Computer Technology and is part of Fuzhou University. The university is a prominent educational establishment in China with 20,000 students.

Tour co-ordinator Kevin Briggs said the trip offered many opportunities for increasing links between the UK and China.

He added: "The tour will also capture the swelling tide of enthusiasm that has accompanied China's qualification for the World Cup finals, to be held in neighbouring Japan and Korea just five weeks after the tour's conclusion."

"In China the University of Leicester will be represented by its football club, the largest of all its sport societies, which fields five teams and whose players regularly compete to the highest national level. The touring squad of 23 players reflects the broad spectrum of talents, footballing and vocational, that drives the club."

The players will be coached by former professional footballers Ted Nethercot and Martin Roderick, and managed by Leicester's Sports and Recreation Manager, Colin Hide.

Colin said: "We are the first University soccer team ever to tour China and that in itself is a great honour. This is a great opportunity to cement the links between the two universities. It's a first in many ways, first touring university side and first time in China for many. It should be brilliant and extraordinary experience for all in the touring party."

The scale of the welcome that awaits the University's touring party has already been indicated by the securing of a Chinese provincial television deal for one of the three 'goodwill' matches that are to be played against the host institutions. This live broadcast will attract a television audience of approximately three million people.

Tour member and football club-captain Jamie Hughes said: "The club is relishing the opportunity to play international football and to enjoy the beauty of the Chinese province, and the renowned hospitality of the Fujian people.  

Patrick Davison

The group is seeking sponsorship for the tour. Contact: Kevin Briggs, +44 (0)116 252 3557, email krb@star.le.ac.uk

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Last updated: March 2002
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