China’s sports regulator is considering some kind of lottery-style product whereby football fans predict the outcome of games in the country’s domestic soccer leagues, reported Caixin, a mainland media outlet specialising in economic news.
The General Administration of Sport said in a plan for the 2016-20 period unveiled on Thursday that it would “actively study promoting a soccer lottery in which Chinese domestic soccer leagues will be the object of guessing” on the part of members of the public, reported the magazine.
China’s existing sports lottery sales – including some products relating to soccer matches – declined 5.7 percent year-on-year in 2015, to RMB166.4 billion, according to data released in February by the Ministry of Finance.
For many years Chinese domestic soccer was associated with match fixing and corruption, according to media reports.
A story by Bloomberg News in June last year noted that an anti-graft campaign targeting China’s soccer industry and initiated in 2009 – by the country’s now president, Xi Jinping, who is said to be a soccer fan – had largely been completed by 2012.
Bloomberg noted the campaign had netted more than 50 offenders, including two former senior officials at national league level, several players who had represented China during its campaign at the 2002 World Cup, and a referee known as “the golden whistle,” who had officiated over two World Cup matches.
China currently has two main domestic soccer leagues, the Chinese Super League and China League One.
Soccer fans in mainland China have been able to play a lottery-cum-match result prediction game for contests in the UEFA Europa League and AFC Champions League since 2001, according to Caixin. That lottery is also run by the sports administration, and raises funds for the development of sports in the country.
China’s sports industry is likely to generate turnover amounting to more than RMB 3 trillion (US$460 billion) by the end of 2020, according to China’s sports development five-year plan released on Thursday.
“China’s overall sports industry turnout will be amounting to more than RMB3 trillion, accounting for one percent in GDP with the added value of sports service taking up 30 percent in the overall sports industry,” said the five-year plan issued by China’s General Administration of Sport.
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