Plans announced for indoor football league in China

August 14, 2014

In 2015, the first family will be able to take in an indoor football game on diplomatic trips to China. (Andy Wong/AP Photo)

Chinese sports authorities have agreed to allow an indoor professional football league to begin playing in the country in 2015, according to an announcement Thursday by the league of its formation.

According to the announcement by the China American Football League, the venture is a creation of a Beijing-based company owned by Marty Judge, a co-owner of the U.S.-based Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul, and the Chinese Rugby Football Association. Former NFL coach Dick Vermeil and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski also are involved, according to the announcement.

“With the backing of the Chinese government, the sky is the limit for how we can grow American football in the vast, untapped Chinese marketplace,” Judge said in a written statement.

The league plans to have six to eight teams in major Chinese cities when it begins play in 2015, according to the announcement of the league’s plans. Each team is to be comprised of both American and Chinese players.

“To get the opportunity to share our great sport with the sports fans in China is something that very much excites me,” Vermeil said in a written statement.

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Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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Mark Maske · August 14, 2014