Ajax are about to collaborate with the Chinese Football Association CFA, Chinese top club Beijing Guoan FC and the Chinese Sate Television (CCTV). All parties signed the letter of intent in the ArenA on Saturday.
The collaboration will begin on 1 July 2008. After signing the letter of intent, Ajax’s managing director Maarten Fontein and chairman John Jaakke raised the glass with Shu Li (CFA) and Wu Youwen, vice-general manager of Beijing Guoan. With the signing of the letter of intent, a disappointing day ended with a smile. Earlier it became clear that the match against PSV had to be cancelled.
,,Despite the disappointment about the cancellation of Ajax - PSV, we are very happy that we have signed this letter of intent’’, said Fontein. ,,Especially because this is a unique collaboration. This cannot be compared to other collaborations between clubs.’’ The fact that the Chinese FA is involved, makes it even more special, said Fontein. ,,This is the first time the CFA have agreed to a collaboration with a non-Chinese club.’’
With the club from Peking, a partner with vision is chosen; Beijing Guoan FC has a good infrastructure. Ajax and the Chinese realise that it begins with youth to be able to grow. Ajax therefore want to share their own, rich youth program with the Chinese club. For Beijing Guoan FC and the Chinese FA, development programs for players and coaches will be developed. Coaches can be exchanged between the two clubs, and the clubs can play on one another's tournaments. Ajax hope to build something in football-mad China, where there has been professional football for the past ten years. The parties strive to expand their name recognition; which can lead to the expansion of the fan base. Surveys have shown that about a hundred million Chinese are interested in (among others) matches of Ajax.
It took two years of research to get to the signing of the letter of intent. The content of the collaboration will be defined in the upcoming period. ,,The details of the letter of intent will be worked out in the next few months'', Fontein said.