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Interview: "In the Chinese market football fans are increasing": Rastar Group president

BARCELONA, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Company Rastar Group is buying more than 50 percent stake in Spanish BBVA Primera Liga club, Espanyol, Rastar Group president Chen Yansheng told Xinhua in an interview Tuesday.

The former president of Espanyol, Dani Sanchez, who along with Ramon Condal had been one of the club's majority shareholders, confirmed in local media that Rastar Group had spent 65 million euros (71 million U.S. dollars).

"We have chosen Espanyol because others have already Asian investors and Espanyol was the one looking for foreign collaborators," Chen explained.

"In the Chinese market football fans are increasing... we want to make good use of this situation and invest in sports market," he said, emphasizing that he hopes the collaboration covers many areas.

"In the future we want to organize football players exchanges," he said, explaining that a Spanish football player could be sent to play in the Chinese league and a Chinese player could play in Spain.

The company also has in mind a plan to open football schools in China once the whole process is finished. "We want to travel to China with the first sports director of Espanyol in order to visit possible investments and talk about opening Espanyol football schools in China," he pointed out.

Chen thought football training in Spain very impressive. Espanyol has its own system, he said, with experienced coaches that train youngsters and children. "I hope that thanks to this collaboration this experience and the club's system can help Chinese players," he said.

Rastar Group is the third Chinese company investing in a Spanish football team. Qbao sponsors both Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad, while Wanda Group invested in Atletico Madrid.

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