Chen Xuyuan, the president of Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), has been widely tipped to take a surprising role as the president of the China Football Association (CFA).
According to local reports, CFA will make an appointment of the new president next month and Chen is most likely to get the role. The position has been vacant since Cai Zhenhua, the former president of CFA, left last year due to other work arrangements by the government.
Chen, 63, has been working in the port industry his entire career, and has been serving in SIPG since 1997. The new role is likely to be his last appointment before retirement.
SIPG took over local football club Shanghai East Asia FC and renamed it Shanghai SIPG FC in 2014. The team were crowned champions of the Chinese Super League in 2018.
Shanghai Port has been the world’s largest container port in terms of volume for nine years in a row, having completed a container throughput of 42m teu last year. Chen’s role at CFA will be far more demanding than his champion’s position at Shanghai port with Beijing anxious to improve the national team’s standing. Perennial underachievers, China is currently ranked 74th in the world men’s football rankings just ahead of the Cape Verde Islands. The Chinese government is keen to host a World Cup, but will likely only bid for the showcase event if its national team improves.