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Chelsea to help train China squad for 2008 Olympics
2006-04-17 02:42:12 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SHANGHAI, April 17(AP) -- English champion Chelsea will turn over its state-of-the-art training complex to help prepare China for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, newspapers reported Monday.

Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon extended the offer in meetings last week with Chinese soccer association officials in Beijing, the newspaper Titan Sports reported.

"What we're looking for is a broader cooperation with China and a bigger space in the market," Kenyon was quoted as saying. "We don't want to copy other clubs who just come to China to play a few commercial matches, then take the money and leave."

Accepting the offer, Yang Yimin, the Chinese association's vice president, said Chelsea's play had become "a sort blueprint" for China's coaching staff, particularly in training defenders.

"We would really love it if (Chelsea manager) Jose Mourinho could find some time to come to China after the season ends and give a class to our coaches," Titan quoted Yang as saying.

China badly needs some new ideas. Since qualifying for its first World Cup finals in 2002, the men's side has been a consistent loser, bouncing out of the first round of World Cup qualifying in 2004.

China is currently ranked 71st in the world, one notch above tiny Kuwait.

No details of the timing or financial terms of the agreement were available. Spokesmen for the Chinese association could not immediately be reached for comment.

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