Alipay, the China-based online lifestyle and payment platform, has announced a ten-year, RMB 1 billion ($145.4 million) commitment to support the development of women's football/soccer in China.
Pledged by the Alipay Foundation — the charitable arm of Alipay, which is affiliated with global e-commerce giant Alibaba — and the foundations of Alibaba co-founders Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, the funds will be jointly managed by the foundations and the Chinese Football Association. With the aim of making the sport more accessible to women and girls across China, the funds will support efforts in a number of areas, including the performance of the China Women's National Football Team, technical development and coaching, girls' youth soccer, and injury prevention and treatment. The Alipay Foundation also will support the Wind Rider Project, an initiative aimed at boosting girls' soccer in rural China.
Alipay's previous support for girls' soccer includes a two-year pilot in Qiongzhong on the island of Hainan.
"Over the past two years, I've seen from the girls in Qiongzhong that [soccer] has brought them more than just physical fitness and technical skills. It has also opened doors for them to more life options and opportunities, as well as tenacity and fighting spirit," said Eric Jing, chair and CEO of Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Alibaba and the operator of Alipay. "This has strengthened our determination to expand our support and enable more development and innovation in women's and girls' football in China."
(Photo credit: gettyimages, FangXiaNuo)