Not here to improve image of Chinese football: David Beckham

Football superstar David Beckham played down expectations he can improve the battered image of the Chinese game as officials on Wednesday unveiled him as the sport’s ambassador in the country.

The former England international’s new role has been widely seen as an ambitious attempt by the Chinese Super League to recover from years of match-fixing and corruption involving players, referees and officials.

A three-year inquiry culminated last month in 33 people being banned for life and several clubs fined and docked points.

But the 37-year-old, who is on a five-day visit to China while his current club Paris Saint-Germain are on a break for international fixtures, said his focus was on developing the sport at grassroots level.

“What has gone on in the past? I am not a politician so I have nothing to do with it,” he told a press conference in Beijing.

“I am helping in the education for young kids and young aspiring footballers. It’s as simple as that. I am not here to clear up anything. I am here to educate the children and give them a chance of becoming professional footballers.”

Beckham, who is known as “Little Becks” in China, said he was not being paid.

Chinese media have quoted Chinese Super League officials as saying he would receive a salary of two million euros ($2.6 million) from one of the world’s biggest sports agencies.

But he said: “There are no figures attached. I am here as an ambassador, simple as that. There is always figures thrown about what I am doing with my life, but right now I am playing football for free in Paris and I am here as an ambassador.”

He was again asked if he was being paid, and responded: “Right here, right now? No!”

Chinese football fans have been eagerly anticipating Beckham’s arrival since it was revealed he would become involved in the domestic sport last month.

Read more :
  • Azarenka rocks past Vesnina to beat of new song
    MELBOURNE - An unreleased track by American DJ GoonRock helped Victoria Azarenka get back to her ruthless best at the Australian Open on Monday, the defending champion dispatching Elensa Ve...
  • Allardyce close to new Hammers deal
    West Ham manager Sam Allardyce on Wednesday claimed he is close to signing a new contract with the Premier League club. Allardyce's current deal with the Hammers expires at the end of the ...
  • Germany guards against complacency vs Kazakhstan
    Germany is playing down World Cup expectations and battling complacency ahead of its second back-to-back qualifier against Kazakhstan on Tuesday. Joachim Loew's side leads Group C with fou...
  • Messi, Villa combine to sink Rayo Vallecano
    David Villa expressed his delight at returning to top form as he scored and set-up two goals for Lionel Messi as Barcelona beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1 to restore their 13-point lead at the top ...
  • Barcelona happy with Messi, Villa double act
    Barcelona assistant manager Jordi Roura was delighted at the understanding shown between Lionel Messi and David Villa as they combined for all of Barca's goals in the 3-1 win over Rayo Vall...
  • Watson, DeLaet, Hoffman share PGA Travelers lead
    CROMWELL, Connecticut: Bubba Watson, winless since taking last year’s Masters, struggled to a level par 70 Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to fall into a three-way tie for the lead at the $6.1 ...
  • Iron man Djokovic into Australian Open semis
    MELBOURNE - Novak Djokovic must have been relieved to have given his weary legs a relatively quick workout on Tuesday with 6-1 4-6 6-1 6-4 victory against Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych in ...
  • A new dynasty
    Raffy Ledesma The aging war riors of the San Antonio Spurs refused to go down quietly into the night but in the end, LeBron “The King” James simply had too much heart and too much talent a...