(Yicai Global) July 5 -- Alipay, China's biggest third-party payment platform, said it would provide CNY1 billion (USD145.5 million) to women's soccer in the country over the next 10 years, the most ever offered as sponsorship for the sport.
Funds from the Alipay Foundation, Jack Ma Foundation and Joe Tsai Foundation will support the China Women's National Football Team in a number of areas, including injury prevention and treatment, post-soccer career development, coach training, and youth development, the Beijing News reported.
Alipay said it will give up all commercial interests, including sponsor's logo on team strips, side-by-side adverts for matches, and contest naming rights, the report added.
In recent years the beautiful game has taken off in China, where President Xi Jinping is an avid fan and Alipay's parent company Alibaba Group Holding owns half of Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao FC.
Alipay's initiative is an extension and expansion of its two-year-long program to support girls' soccer in rural areas of China's southern Hainan province that began in 2017, where girls are enrolled in national youth teams thank to the program. It also signed an eight-year sponsorship deal with the Union of European Football Associations, or UEFA, last in November.