AFL in China: why Port Adelaide took a chance on Shanghai

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The Power’s game against Gold Coast in the Jiangwan Stadium lacked the theatrics of the MCG. But it’s part of the club’s desire to be ahead of the pack

Charles de Gaulle is said to have once commented “China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese.” In a week where Port Adelaide footballers were warned that the local food in Shanghai could be “pretty dangerous” you suspect the worldview of some of the AFL community is not a lot more complicated. Then again, the AFL has always been better at numbers than something as vague as culture, just ask a Tasmanian.

Chinese president Xi Jinping’s sporting dream is also uncomplicated. He wants China to become a football powerhouse and the numbers make for interesting, if not daunting, reading. If you are to develop a sporting culture in China, getting into the schools is critical, and China currently has more than 13,000 football schools. In February the Chinese Ministry of Education announced plans to open another 40,000 by 2025.

Related: History in the making for Port in Shanghai as Freo win after the siren

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