It will take years to build football culture, Wenger warns CSL

The Arsenal manager is happy to see the sport’s expansion, but is adamant the game’s growth in China will not be an overnight success

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted it will take years for the Chinese Super League to create a football culture.

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The CSL has dominated the headlines following the big-money arrivals of Oscar, Carlos Tevez and Axel Witsel, and more star names continue to be linked with moves to China.

China is also home to Hulk, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Ramires, Alex Teixeira and head coach Andre Villas-Boas, among others.

Wenger has praised the growth of Chinese football but the Frenchman, who arrived at Arsenal from Japanese outfit Nagoya Grampus in 1996, said it will take time to compete with the Premier League.

“You do not create a top league overnight, it demands years of hard work and culture,” Wenger said. “Professional football in England was created 150 years ago but we still struggle!

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“I believe it’s a slow process of creating a football culture. Football is quite strange because you are educated as a little boy, you hear about football from your parents and you give that to the next generation. That takes time to be a part of the population.

“In China, it’s new. I know that well because when I went to Japan it was 1995, and the professional league was created in 1993 so it was the third year of professional football in Japan. You expect reflexes from people who are not there, who are not used to the culture of professional football.

“It will take time, and even then we do not know if China will still do it in 10 years. Sometimes it’s a political decision which can change. I personally am very happy and I expect India to come to the game. I hope it will happen.”

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