Alibaba to donate $145m to women’s football

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(Shanghai) – China´s second richest man Jack Ma will contribute to a $145 million donation to the Chinese women´s football squad, it was announced, who despite underfunding routinely outperform the men´s national team.

The one billion yuan ($145 million) donation from Ma — the founder of online shopping giant Alibaba — and two other charitable foundations will be spread over the coming decade.

It will contribute to “injury prevention and treatment, the career development of retired footballers, technical development and coach education, and youth development,” a joint statement said.

China made the Women´s World Cup — now under way in France — for the seventh time in eight editions, and boasts a record that the men´s team can only envy.

But the women´s side does more with far less support, and professional women´s football in China gets little notice and plays to meagre attendances.

The team put in a respectable showing in France, going out in the round of 16.

But they have slipped below the world´s best since reaching the 1999 final against the powerhouse Americans, where China lost on penalties, and insiders worry they will slide further without more backing.