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Some of the most prominent names in football governance and the wider industry in the rapidly developing sports markets of China and India were the focus of the World Football Forum in Paris last Friday (8th July).

 

The annual industry event, held this year in Paris, highlighted China’s growing impact in the international football arena – and the efforts of the established football hubs to engage with this massive new force in the world game.

 

One of the principal points of discussion at the event, it ran alongside an in-depth look at the restructuring of the India football league, and development through football in Qatar and the MENA region.

 

The headline panel sessions at the WFF 2016 took a deep dive into both Chinese and Indian football, with senior industry figures from China including Ma Guoli, Vice Chairman and Le Sports and Wang Dong, VP at AliSports part of ecommerce giant Alibaba.

 

The Indian delegation was led by Kushal Das, General Secretary of the All-India Football Federation and Sunando Dhar, CEO, I-League.

 

New horizons in technology and innovation were covered at WFF in an interactive session looking at the ways in which football will be played and watched in future including virtual reality stadiums from LiveLike and people-powered football pitches from clean energy innovator Pavegen.

 

Forum delegates also heard from representatives of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and from Russia 2018, with a report from the LOC and also a presentation on ‘Russia Loves Football!’ a campaign developed by WFF organiser Eventica Sport aimed at engaging the Russian public with football in the run-up to 2018.

 

WFF 2016 underscored Eventica Sport’s on-going focus on the Asian market, and plans for WFF 2017 in China are now underway.

 

Forum Director Edward Cowell, said: “We have heard a range of views today on the exciting new forces in world football from a very impressive line up of decision-makers and commentators.

 

“I am delighted that WFF’s long-standing commitment to open new windows of opportunity in the football world has culminated in the extremely interesting discussions that have taken place today.

 

“We are not stopping here, however, and the next step for us is to take WFF into the heart of the new geography for the 2017 forum.”