According to KICKER and BILD there is a very real possibility that the twentieth team to suit up for the 2017-18 Regionalliga Südwest season will be the Chinese U-20 national team.
The Regionalliga is the fourth division of the German footballing pyramid, and is inhabited by a mix of low-level teams from relatively small areas and reserve squads of major Bundesliga clubs. Because of this, it is essentially where the young talent of Germany takes their final steps of preparation before they suit up for the main roster of a Bundesliga side.
This is said to help the Chinese national team prepare for a run at the Tokyo 2020 olympic games. My question about this whole situation, why is it Germany’s responsibility to help the national team of a different nation grow?
The Chinese government has pledged to become a “Global Football Powerhouse” by the year 2050, and aims to have fifty million children and adults playing football in their country by that time. This would, on the surface, seem as a major problem for the current crop of footballing elite, of which Germany is one. They are the defending world champions and have historically been amongst the top handful of footballing nations, so why would they want to assist the growth of a potential competitor?
It is important to note that Germany currently has the largest population of any country that is entirely in Europe, with around 80 million people living there. This is one of the reasons why Germany is able to consistently produce high level youth talents, that go on to become some of the best players in the world. They are able to cast a wide net over a fairly large population, and coupled with a world-class academy system, has helped Germany maintain its place as a world footballing superpower. So my question remains, why would German want to risk creating a new superpower to compete with? Additionally, why can China not do this themselves? Germany has never tried to keep their reasons for being successful a secret. They cast a wide net for youth players at a very young age, very often around five years of age, and invest heavily in academies that develop young talents into world-class players; so why can China, with its never-ending supply of money supplied by their Communist Government and with the world’s largest population, roughly 1.3 billion people, do the same?
It is important to remember that Germany has not always had an academy system that was the rival of the world. The current system was only set up after the Germany National Team was humiliated at Euro 2000, finishing dead last in their group after only being able to collect a single point from a draw with relative minnow Romania. After this embarrassment the DFB mandated that every team invest in building a youth academy so that Germany would be consistently producing top talent from all over that country, and would not have to rely on players from only a handful of top teams. This set into motion a string of successful results in major tournaments for Germany, culminating in their 2014 World Cup triumph. So why can China not do this for themselves?
Possibly the most infuriating part of this entire idea is that the DFB is not letting a club team into their league, but a youth national team. Should it not be the responsibility of the parent club of these players to develop them?
The Chinese Super League has a near endless supply of money, provided by their Communist Dictatorship, to spend poaching top talents from all over Europe for inflated transfer fees, yet they cannot pay to develop their own youth players? The whole idea is ludicrous, even more so when you realize the “Most hated club in Germany”, RB Leipzig, began life in the Oberliga, or fifth tier of German football, one step below where the Chinese U-20 team will be playing next year.
If Germany is open to foreign national teams competing in their club competitions, where does the line get drawn? Can Tab Ramos bring the US U-20 team to Germany to compete? What about England? Or an emerging power like Costa Rica?
What makes China Special?
I think it is fairly clear the answer to that is simple: money. The DFB are willing to sell themselves down the river for some of the money China has acquired off the backs of essentially slave labor, and it is disgusting.