David Beckham to take up China role next week

Football superstar David Beckham will begin his highly-anticipated role as ambassador for the Chinese Super League next week, with domestic media saying on Friday he will visit three cities on a five-day trip.

Chinese football fans expressed excitement online at news that the 37-year-old will arrive in Beijing on March 20 to take up a role which officials hope will help repair the sport’s battered image.

“Little Becks”, as he is known in China, will meet the media in the capital on the first day of this visit, organisers of the press conference told AFP by email.

Beckham will also visit the eastern city of Qingdao, and Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province, the Oriental Sports Daily said.

He will visit sport schools and youth football projects during the visit, which is taking place while his current club Paris Saint-Germain are not playing due to a break in the French league for international fixtures.

Speculation also mounted in the Chinese media whether wife Victoria will join him for the latter part of the tour.

Many online comments about Beckham were from women, asking if they could accompany the midfielder on his tour.

Football in China is battling to rebuild an image shattered by a history of corruption involving players, referees and officials.

A three-year inquiry resulted last month in 33 people being banned for life and saw a number of clubs fined and docked points.

Beckham has visited China on a number of occasions in the past, mainly on football tours with his previous clubs, which include Real Madrid and Manchester United. He also featured at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Olympics.

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