China under-20s to face German fourth division sides in friendlies

The 19 clubs from one of Germany's regional fourth divisions have accepted the German Football Association's (DFB) plan to allow China's under-20 team to play friendlies against them.

In an attempt to even out the fixture list, with only 19 teams qualifying for the regional southwest division of Germany's fourth tier, the DFB has invited China's U20 side to join.

The plan, made public in June, received a controversial reaction from clubs in Germany, but was eventually finalised when the DFB and Chinese Football Association (CFA) signed a contract on Monday and presented the news to the teams of the southwest division on Tuesday.

"Every club gets the chance to play one friendly against the China U20 team, and it looks like it will start with the start of the second half of the season in November," vice president of the South German Football Association Ronny Zimmermann told a news conference.

It had previously been expected that the China U20s would play all 38 matches in a 20-team league, but they will now only join during the second half of the season.

Not all clubs will take up the offer, though.

"The sporting success in the league is our priority, and accordingly we need to allow time for the recovery process and also to prepare for the next opponent," Waldhof Mannheim executive Markus Kompp said, citing sporting reasons for not playing against China's U20s.

Stuttgarter Kickers and TuS Koblenz will also not play friendlies against the opponents from Asia.

Clubs taking part in the friendly series will receive a €15,000 payment from the CFA, kicker reported.

It has yet to be confirmed where the China U20s will be based during their stay in Germany.