David Beckham named as global ambassador for Chinese football | inside World Soccer

David Beckham has become the first global ambassador in China, where the sport is struggling to escape the taint of match fixing and bribery scandals.

David Beckham will visit China in 2013 with his new role to revive the image of Chinese football
David Beckham will visit China in 2013 with his new role to revive the image of Chinese football

Photo: Getty Images

Professional football in China celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2013 and the Chinese Super League begins its 10th season on March 8.

However, the country has recently been hit by a match-fixing scandal and an exodus of international stalwarts from the country's premier league.

Ex-Chelsea pair Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba left Shanghai Shenhua in January 2013, accepting that the desire to play at a higher level was more important for them.

A bigger blow came earlier this month when Chinese Football Association handed out 33 lifetime bans and 25 five-year bans in the culmination of an investigation into corruption.

"I am honoured to have been asked to play such an important role at this special time in Chinese football history," Beckham said in a statement released by IMG.

"I'm excited by the prospect of promoting the world's greatest game to Chinese sports fans as I've seen first hand the growing interest in football there.

"This is a wonderful sport that inspires people across the world and brings families together, so I'm relishing the opportunity of introducing more fans to the game."

Beckham will combine the role with playing for French side Paris St Germain.

His Chinese football debut will be another influential role after his special ambassadorship for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

"With David being invited by the Chinese FA to become an ambassador for the game he loves so much, it really underlines the scale and reach of his global popularity," added Simon Fuller, Beckham's business partner.

"This is the start of a new chapter in the David Beckham story, and I'm absolutely delighted for him. I'm certain he will enjoy his China adventure."

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