January 18, 2017 / 5:35 PM / 7 months ago

Italian FA president welcomes Chinese investment

Italian Football Federation President Carlo Tavecchio arrives before the Italy's national soccer team official photo at the Coverciano training center, near Florence, June 1, 2016.Stefano Rellandini

(Reuters) - Italian FA president Carlo Tavecchio has welcomed the flow of Chinese funds into football in his country, saying the game needs resources and investment.

Chinese investors have poured money into the sport in Europe with several eye-catching deals designed to raise soccer's profile in the Asian country and inspired by President Xi Jinping's desire to turn China into a footballing powerhouse.

Electronics retailer Suning 002024.SZ bought nearly 70 percent of Inter Milan in June last year while a consortium of Chinese investors is set to close a deal in March to acquire their city rivals AC Milan.

"If I'm worried about China's expansion in football, it will not always be like that. I know that they are evaluating the matter politically speaking," Tavecchio told reporters on Wednesday.

"If the investments are serious, legal and are made in the national territory, they are welcome. At the moment we need resources in our system."

The spending spree has attracted government scrutiny in China, with the country now set to cut the number of overseas players who can be fielded in domestic games to three for the 2017 season, two fewer than the current limit..

Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdynia. editing by Ed Osmond

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