South Melbourne FC are playing host to one of the richest clubs in the Chinese Super League, Guangzhou R&F, when the CSL club completes a pre-season tour of Melbourne.
Guangzhou – the former home of Apostolos Giannou – will train at Lakeside Stadium during their stay.
Bill Papastergiadis, who heads South Melbourne’s bid for A-League expansion, said South had been “selected” by the Chinese club due to its “world class facilities” and “international recognition”.
As part of the deal, Guangzhou will play South Melbourne in a friendly on Thursday, February 8.
Papastergiadis said the partnership was important for Chinese-Australian football relations, and is an example of why South deserve an A-League licence.
“Our international partnerships and football can bring together members of the business community to benefit sport, trade, culture and tourism for both China and here in Melbourne,” he said.
“Establishing the Australia China Football Development Foundation has played a large role in this. Our youth coaching staff have recently returned from delivering a coaching conference in Jinshan for seventy local coaches.
“We are now taking this experience and technical capability to the international stage. This is yet another example of the clubs maturity, depth and readiness to play on the national level here in Australia in the A-League."