China moves centre stage at World Football Forum in Paris


Football brings the world together like nothing else. Everywhere it is played, it has the power to transform society – and nowhere more so than in the new emerging markets of football.


Eventica Sport’s flagship football industry event, the World Football Forum, will in 2016 highlight the development of football in one of the sport’s most exciting and fast-growing new markets – China. WFF 2016, which takes place in Paris on 7-8 July, will chart the ‘new geography of football’. China, whose football-loving President Xi has prioritized the development of the domestic game, and in doing so is unlocking a vast new market, is leading the pack of emerging football powerhouses of the 21st Century.


The WFF team were in China last week in an intensive round of media interviews and meetings to announce the latest news - including the confirmation of some new names for the headline China session in the Paris Forum in July. Ma Guoli, Vice Chairman of LeTV Sports, Wang Dong, Vice President at Ali Sports and Zhang Xing, Deputy Controller of CCTV Sports have all committed to take part as speakers at this year's event. Mr. Ma served as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Infront, China at Infront Sports & Media AG until April 2016. He then led Infront’s China subsidiary and was responsible for all projects and further expansion of Infront's business across China. He is the Founder of CCTV-5, the first sports TV channel in China.


Zhang Xing has more than 30 years’ experience in the sports industry, and was responsible for China’s television broadcast of the Asian and Olympic Games from 1982 to 2014 working on multiple Summer and Winter Games. He is leading a 40-member CCTV delegation to cover the Euro 2016.


Mark Dreyer, Founder, China Sports Insider will also take part in the China session. Formerly a football reporter with Sky Sports in the UK, Mark Dreyer has been covering sports around the world for close to 20 years. A veteran of three Olympic and Paralympic Games (Beijing, Vancouver, London 2008-12), where he was an accredited journalist, he has also been a reporter and producer for both Fox Sports and AP Sports in the US and has worked with a number of media outlets in China and elsewhere. His first love is football and he has previously interviewed stars including Pele and David Beckham.


However, China will not be the only story at WFF 2016 – our journey through the new geography of the world’s favourite game will uncover other high-growth new markets for football, where the globalisation of football is being felt just as strongly – from the upcoming FIFA World Cup™ Host Nations Russia and Qatar, through India and South-East Asia, and across the Middle East and the African continent.


In Russia, where the FIFA World Cup™ will take place for the first time in 2018, football is jumpstarting modernisation plans, with a dramatic overhaul of the country’s infrastructure. Qatar’s preparations for 2022 are beginning to change perceptions of sport in the Gulf. India’s new Super League aims to thrust the Indian game into the international spotlight. Meanwhile, the football boom in Africa shows no sign of abating.


In 2011, Eventica launched the World Football Forum – a high profile international conference focusing on the multi-billion dollar business of football – following the announcement of Russia’s first FIFA World Cup™ in 2018. Since then, this annual event has become firmly established in the football industry calendar, bringing together leading figures from football across the globe in major football hubs around the world. Over the years the World Football Forum has attracted delegates from around the world with a programme that explores the critical issues facing world football.


The geography of football is changing fast, and with fresh leadership in the sport’s most senior governing bodies steering the world game in a new direction, the World Football Forum 2016 will offer the first chance to chart the opportunities and the challenges ahead for the international football industry. Taking place in Paris at the culmination of the UEFA Euro 2016 Championship, the World Football Forum is the key event for the key players of the global football industry: the personalities who guide, influence and govern the world’s game.

Additional information