British soccer legend David Beckham has started as an ambassador for scandal riddled Chinese football, but that will not be enough, tells soccer expert Rowan Simons in the South China Morning Post. “Not enough to wipe the ingrained cynicism in fans.”
The South China Morning Post:
Beckham’s presence will not be enough to wipe the cynicism ingrained in fans, claimed Rowan Simons, who has spent two decades attempting to promote grass-roots football in China.
“The appointment seems like a sweetener for the league’s new sponsor, Samsung. I have been working in Chinese football for over 20 years and still cannot predict what ridiculous policy will be introduced next,” he said.
Simons, who wrote a book, Bamboo Goalposts, about his few triumphs and many failures, added: “What is more likely? That David Beckham will transform the image of Chinese football for the better or that Chinese football will transform the image of David Beckham for the worse? I know where my money lies and that is why his involvement is not likely to include anything original. His aversion to public speaking also makes him the perfect candidate.”
Many fans believe the CFA has taken the softest possible option and thrown money at Beckham to divert attention from their failings – money which Simons said could be better spent on grass-roots development.
Estimates of Beckham’s fee have ranged from £1.7 million (HK$19.9 million, according to a CSL spokesman quoted in People’s Daily) to £50 million (according to a report in Italian sports daily La Gazzetta Dello Sport).