BEIJING: Wei Di, the newly appointed chief of the Chinese Football Association (CFA), vowed here on Tuesday to lead Chinese men's football, which had been stained by match fixing and illegal betting scandals, back to top level in Asia during his term.
"Though five years is too short for an overhaul for a sport as big as soccer, I will try my best," Wei said at a press conference, known as his official debut after taking over the position last month.
"Chinese football has degraded to an intolerable level. It has hurt the feelings of fans and Chinese people at large," said Wei, adding that he was confident to help Chinese men's and women's football return to the leading status in Asia and world respectively in future.
Wei pointed out that six major problems had caused the huge slump of Chinese football in the past few years. Among them, dwindling pool for young player selection, unhealthy professional leagues affected by gambling and match fixing scandals had always been caught phrases on mass media.
Chinese Super League (CSL), the nation's top soccer league, was due to start the new season on March 20 according to Wei, but might be delayed with the progress of a nationwide crackdown on illegal betting on football and match fixing started last year by public security department.
"We are preparing for the schedule but unsure whether it (the league) would kick off on time. The discipline committee of CFA will have meetings to discuss how to punish some clubs related to scandals. But they have to wait for the case results from the public security department," said Wei.
The official also told Chinese men's national team, who are training for the upcoming East Asian Championships in Japan, not to consider too much about the results but needed to insist on the newly established strategy under the young coach Gao Hongbo.
"If you want to prove it suitable or not for your team, you have to try it. Please give time for this young team," said Wei.
Gao's side have gradually turned to ground passing tactics and adopt the world's popular 4-2-3-1 formation. However, Chinese footballers has relied too much on the old long pass and header strategy for almost a decade. The young team under Gao's coach still lacked shape in midfield and creativity in scoring.
"Anytime, no matter win or loss, they must show their team spirit and courage. I hope, after one year's effort, the national team can give the public a new image," said Wei.
The 55-year-old Wei had been head of the aquatics administration center since 2001. Under his charge, Chinese rowers made huge breakthrough in the recent years especially at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
On January 22, Wei took over the head position of CFA from the former chief Nan Yong, who was summoned to a police investigation into match-fixing scandals, and was removed from office on the same day.