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Rowan talking Chinese football in bed with Maradona

China craves sporting recognition and has a huge passion for football, but development of the domestic game has been blighted by corruption and general apathy. Rowan Simons refuses to allow Chinese football to wallow in the gutter. Egan Richardson on an influential figure in Beijing.
Chinese Football Stadium

Chinese Football Stadium

Few British people have as deep an understanding of and passion for China as Rowan Simons, who moved to Beijing in the late 1980s and has lived there ever since. He has enough in his media businesses to keep him busy – the group consists of three companies, and does everything from media production to strategic consulting, from event organising to communications – but one thing has given him a sense of mission.“Football has always been my passion,” says Simons in a phone interview conducted with radio86.com just before he ran out of the door for a training session. “I started playing as soon as I came to China, but I realised very quickly that football in China was very different from football in the UK, and elsewhere. In the mid-90s I was lucky enough to be a co-commentator on English Premier League and FA Cup matches on Bejing TV, so I became very well known to football fans as the English guy who talked about football.” (more…)

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MATCH! v Ex Internationals!

Dear City,It looks like a very exciting opportunity has arisen….Ever remember sat at the tv watching Chinese football and saying ‘ We could beat them!’…….Well now is your chance,This week Forbidden City will be playing a match against former China internationals and current Chinese professionals!The match will take place at the brand new 11 aside pitches just North of the current Chaoyang Stadium!I would like to select a full squad and give all these players a chance to play!Can you play?Wednesday, Chaoyang Stadium, meet 7.15pm sharp(no training)Reply NOW for which should be a fabulous evening!CheersJames

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BBC World Football

Listen to FCFC’s Rowan Simons discussing the state of Chinese football on the BBC World Service.

We have the latest from Beijing on the corruption and match-fixing scandal – and ask if football in the country can recover. We speak to Chinese football fans and Chinese football expert Rowan Simons.

More: programme information
Listen now (28 minutes)
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