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England Football Team Best in World - So Say 1.3 Billion Chinese

Chinese football A new study of the strength of interest in international football across China by Warwick Business School  shows that not only is the England team shirt the most popular football shirt across China, England is also by far Chinese football fans' most favored  international team beating Brazil, Argentina and Germany.
 
Dr Sue Bridgewater, a researcher in the University of Warwick's Warwick Business School carried out research among football fans  in China for the English Football Association during World Cup 2006. Her study, presented to the FA this month,  shows much more interest among Chinese fans in international football (78.01%) than Chinese local football (31.24%).  English football fared best of all among such supporters. In major tournaments where China was not present, 96.3% of Chinese fans supported another international team. England was by the most supported "second" team (26.35%), followed by Brazil (20.61%), Argentina (11.82%), Italy (10.81%) and Germany (10.81%).
 
When Chinese fans were asked which team they had seen most frequently  England fared even better: 27.2% listed England  followed by Brazil (12.9%), Italy (11.2%). Next came English Premiership club Manchester United  which, at 9.5%, was rated above all remaining international teams.
 
The research found that the most commonly seen international football shirt in China  was the England national shirt (40.56% of respondents report seeing it very often). 30.42% of respondents report seeing Manchester United shirts very often and 29.72% Italy shirts. A number of shirts are most reported as seen often (Italy 36.04%, Argentina 35.66% of respondents, Real Madrid 29.22%) and AC Milan (29.72%). Those recorded as being "not seen often"  included  Spain, Chelsea, Germany, France and Inter Milan.
 
When Chinese fans were asked to rank of the top three international football shirts seen in China. they listed England first (43.9%) some distance ahead of Real Madrid (12.14%). The shirt most commonly listed second was Manchester United (21.75%) followed by Brazil (19.85%). AC Milan was  most frequently listed third (27.51% of respondents).
 
54.14% of the fans surveyed owned a football shirt. Again England came top - 19.6% owned an England shirt, 13.9% a Manchester United shirt,  8.8% AC Milan and 8.23% Italy.  Almost one quarter owned more than one international football shirt.  Over 75% of respondents knew where to buy an England shirt and almost the same percentage could buy one locally in a sports good store or market. England shirts were available  in all the Chinese provinces covered by this research.  
 
70.64% of respondents followed the Chinese national team but levels of active support by match attendance, or consulting media about the Chinese national team were lower (only 27.1%) of the levels  than those for local Chinese football. This probably reflected the higher frequency and proximity of Chinese club football compared with the lower frequency of Chinese presence in international competition. When asked to list their post popular local Chinese the top teams were Beijing Guoan, Dalian Shide, Shandong Luneng and Shanghai Shenhua.
 
 
For further information please contact: 
 
Dr Sue Bridgewater, Associate Professor,
Warwick Business School, University of Warwick,
024 76524341  Emaail: sue.bridgewater@wbs.ac.uk
Dr Bridgewater will be available from 8.50am today 16th Jan
 
Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager, Communications Office, University of Warwick,
024 76 523708  or 07767 655860 email: p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk
 
PR4 PJD  16th January 2007