David Beckham set to rebuild Chinese Super League's tainted image at home
Former England captain David Beckham is being lined up to promote the Chinese game, domestic media said yesterday, but fans say rebuilding soccer's shattered image may be too big a challenge even for him.
Officials have confirmed the superstar will make a highly anticipated tour of China "in which he will be appointed the CSL's (Chinese Super League's) ambassador", the China Daily said.
The Chinese Football Association is not expected to confirm the trip until next week, but sports fans took to internet message boards in droves to criticise the decision.
Many said installing Beckham - expected to make his debut tomorrow for French club Paris Saint-Germain against Marseille - as an "international ambassador" will do little to address the core problems of the competition, which is battling to overcome match-fixing and bribery scandals.
"This is a superficial change by the CFA. Even if Beckham comes, what exactly is he going to do?," said one poster on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter. "Chinese football's prospects are bleak."
A CSL source told Xinhua it was "almost certain" the 37-year-old would take up the new role.
An official at IMG, a Chinese Super League "marketing partner", was quoted in the China Daily yesterday saying: "Yes, we are indeed organising his visit to China as the ambassador."