German Bundesliga club FC Cologne has pulled out of a football academy in China, with one senior official saying “human rights are massively disrespected” in the country.
Cologne had been slated to run the school for young footballers in Shenyang, northeast China, for 1.8 million euros ($2.0 million).
Club president Werner Wolf said in a statement Wednesday “we have decided not to continue the project… due to the current sporting situation,” saying a reevaluation of “resources and priorities” were behind the move.
“Other forms of possible co-operation, for example sponsoring from Chinese companies, hasn’t been ruled out,” he added.
But Stefan Mueller-Roemer, a former club president and now head of the fan council, told local newspaper Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger that “we don’t need China in sport.”