Germany’s Regionalliga Sudwest is set to have an unusual addition next season, with a team from China set to make up one of the 20 teams in the fourth tier.
The German Football Association (DFB) signed an agreement with their counterparts from China (CFA) last November proposing this plan.
DFB vice president Ronny Zimmermann told Kicker that the other clubs in the division “are positive towards the idea”.
He added: “You know about our planned cooperation with China and that needs to be filled with good content. The managers of the Regionalliga Sudwest will gold a meeting soon and then there will be a decision and the schedule for the new season.”
There was similar positivity from the league’s CEO, Felix Wiedermann, who told Bild: “All 19 clubs have agreed the Chinese can play here. So I think the project is on the right track.”
“I see this as a good marketing opportunity with a game against a Chinese team,” Christopher Fiori, CEO at Kickers Offenbach explained.
The Chinese side is not actually a club, but instead a select group of Under-20 players. They will not have a home ground and as yet it is unclear where they will be based. Nevertheless, each club will have two home fixtures against them.
They will play ‘out of competition’, meaning that they cannot be promoted or relegated.
Meanwhile, the other 19 clubs in the league will receive a bonus of €15,000 each for agreeing to this scheme, which has been supported by those in the political sphere, too.
The final paperwork needs done before the deal is official, however.