September 1, 2017, by The Ingenuity Lab

Developing Community Football in China: China-Britain FC brings Nottingham Forest to Zhejiang

Champions keep playing until they get it right” – Billie Jean King

China-Britain Football Centre

China-Britain Football Centre is a new initiative established by two graduates from the University of Nottingham Ningbo (UNNC) campus, Kayleigh Renberg-Fawcett and Rob Avery-Phipps. Kayleigh and Rob recognise that the power of football in the UK is something which should not be overlooked and can generate significant opportunity for businesses, clubs, organisations and players in China and the UK. China’s huge demand means there is plenty of opportunity if it can be managed successfully.

“I use to play football when I studied in Ningbo. The standard was nowhere near the levels we have in the UK but it is very clear that there is demand for this to change. We are really excited to take the Forest coaches out to China and give them a flavour of the opportunities there are out here.” – Kayleigh Renberg-Fawcett, Cofounder of China-Britain FC

Developing a people-to-people dialogue in a ‘golden era’ of UK-China relations

From 16-24 September the China-Britain Football Centre will lead three Nottingham Forest Coaches to visit China and run coaching programs aimed at developing China’s youth and community football culture. The coaches will visit the city of Ningbo, Nottingham’s Chinese sister city and the home of UNNC. They will also pay a visit to the wider province of Zhejiang who has recently signed a partnership agreement with Nottinghamshire.

As China strives towards becoming a world-class footballing nation by 2050, seeing an additional 50,000 football schools by 2025, Forest sees the importance in developing the game from the bottom-up.

“It is really exciting for the club to play a role in the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire China agenda. We are keen to use the connections the University and both local councils have in China and explore how the club can work locally to help grow the grassroots game in China.” – Graham Moran, CEO of Nottingham Forest 

During the trip, the coaches will run a charity football day in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, visit local schools, hold coaching sessions with elite players from the region, and meet with the sports bureau of Ningbo to discuss ways that Forest can develop longer-term links to support the city’s ambitious plan to grow the sport.

“The support from the University has been awesome. They have been there every step of the way. They helped right from the start, from discussing with us about our initial concept and helping refine it to answering silly but important questions. This is a totally unique opportunity that no other UK University can offer and we hope it will help us really kick off our business!” – Rob Avery-Phipps, Cofounder of China-Britain FC

Kayleigh and Rob are going one step further and have registered their business in China and will be registering their offices at UNNC’s Incubator. Chris Rudd, Provost at UNNC said “We are launching our new incubator in September and it is fantastic to welcome the China-Britain Football Centre to the Ningbo Campus.”

In August 2018, Nottingham Forest will host the first China-Britain FC Regional football tournament, bringing young players from the two cities to take part in football matches with and against local clubs.

The China-Britain Football Centre is set up to connect China and the UK through football. To follow Nottingham Forest’s journey, find them on Twitter and Instagram on @chinabritainfc or visit

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