As part of China’s effort to become a global soccer superpower, authorities in the nation’s largest city have announced plans for a massive new football stadium to seat 50,000 spectators, a semi-official news website reports. When completed, the Pudong Soccer Stadium in Shanghai is expected to double to a venue for international events like the World Cup, Olympic Games or possibly the 2019 Fifa Club World Cup, for which China is reportedly bidding, according to report on Thepaper.cn. China sets out grand plan to become world’s soccer superpower by 2050 Separately, sources had told the city’s Jiefang Daily newspaper that the Shanghai Sports Bureau had approached domestic and international architectural firms for ideas and but the whole project was still under discussion. The stadium is likely to be the new home for Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) Football Club, the Thepaper.cn report said. The new stadium will cover a 10 hectare site in Pudong New Area, according to a statement from the bureau that did not provide more details such as a budget or timeline for the project. Shanghai already has two soccer stadiums – the 35,000-seat Hongkou stadium and the Jinshan stadium that seats fewer than 20,000 spectators – as well as the multi-purpose Shanghai Stadium that can also host football matches along with other sports. But the city government has long hoped to build a larger capacity soccer stadium. In an earlier interview with the Thepaper.cn, Chen Xuyuan, president of Shanghai International Port and owner of the SIPG, said the original plan was to upgrade the Yuanshen Sports Centre Stadium, a facility for 10,000 people that is used mostly for association football matches in the city. But the plan didn’t eventuate because the site was too small, the report said. China’s soccer-mad President Xi Jinping’s passion for ‘the beautiful game’ sparked while a child Thepaper said the Shanghai government would be charge of construction of the Pudong stadium, but a manager would be named later. China has embraced soccer since last year when a landmark programme was launched to support the favourite sport of President Xi Jingping. The sport is compulsory in schools, and cashed-up Chinese companies are on buying spree of teams in Europe. Earlier last month, the National Development and Reform Commission along with national education and sports authorities announced guidelines for new soccer pitches that will number more than 70,000 around the nation by 2020.