Western Australia’s top footballers, coaches and referees will have the chance to travel to Shanghai to develop their skills, under a new partnership between Football West and the Shanghai Football Association.
The three-year agreement will build on the state’s strong history of football exchange with Asia and is part of Football West’s Asian engagement strategy.
WA first collaborated with China on the football pitch in 1927, when the state’s top players played a three-match series against a representative team from China.
More recently, WA Under 15 state team competed at the Jinshan Shanghai International Football Tournament, against the Chinese and Indian national youth teams and Slavia Prague Football Club.
The WA side finished the tournament, which wrapped up last week, with one win, two draws and a loss.
Football West chief executive James Curtis said the Shanghai deal would deliver improved exchange programs tailored for players, coaches and referees in Perth and Shanghai.
“We want to take the lead in providing the best development opportunities for our players, coaches, referees and officials within the Asian market, particularly Shanghai,” Mr Curtis said.
“Football in Shanghai is exciting and vibrant, with strong support in the local community.
“We see that there are great opportunities to share football and cultural insights to improve talent pathways between WA and Shanghai.”
Shanghai FA president Zhu Guanghu said the association had recently changed its strategy to focus more on engaging Shanghai on a community level.
“We know that Football West has rich experience in social football and engaging communities, which shows that we both share the same goal,” Mr Zhu said.
“I believe through this partnership we could work together and learn from each other to promote football development and exchanges between Shanghai and Western Australia and achieve a win-win result.”