China has built more than 26,000 soccer pitches during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said, noting the next step is to improve the utilization of the pitches.
NDRC spokesman Meng Wei said at a press briefing on Monday that 26,957 soccer pitches have been built nationwide during China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, up by four times compared to the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015).
The number of the newly built soccer pitches in 12 provinces including Central China’s Henan, East China’s Shandong and South China’s Guangdong all reached more than 1,000, Meng said.
The construction of different types of soccer pitches, which contain 11-a-side, five-a-side, and seven-a-side, will meet the needs of groups for various matches, said Meng.
A Beijing-based soccer lover surnamed Huang told the Global Times on Monday that he has realized that there has been an increase in the number of five-a-side soccer venues in the past few years in Beijing.
Huang said that even though the number of the pitches has risen, the average booking fee is still a little bit high for him.
“We still tend to choose the free soccer pitches within the campus of the college,” Huang added.
With extensive construction of soccer pitches within the country, Meng noted that there have been some problems in the usage of the venues, such as low utilization and poor quality of the construction.
The government-backed and subsidized soccer pitches should be open to society for free, or at least with lower fees, Meng said.
Also, various types and levels of the soccer matches should be organized to improve the utilization of the venues, said Meng.
In order to improve the service quality, Meng said the soccer pitches should have more facilities and there should be periodic inspections.
In 2016, the State Council, along with the NDRC, China’s General Administration of Sports, and Ministry of Education, released a notice on construction of national soccer fields and facilities during the 13th Five-Year Plan.
Based on the notice, a specific implementation plan proposed by the NDRC said it would help with the construction of soccer pitches with subsidies of up to 2 million yuan ($290,600) each.
Meng said that in order to support the construction of the soccer pitches nationwide, a total amount of 3.5 billion yuan ($530 million) has been invested by the central government, three times the amount in 2019.