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China named world's biggest investor in football clubs

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Beijing: China has been named the world's largest investor in football clubs since 2014, according to a new study.

Chinese investors have spent around 2.15 billion euros ($2 billion) between 2014 and 2016, according to the study by London-based merger and acquisition specialist Thinking-Linking, which analysed 201 global soccer investments over the two-year period.

The study concluded that the sum of Chinese acquisitions was greater than that of all the remaining countries combined, reports Efe news.

Major Chinese operations in international football include the acquisition of stakes in teams such as Italy's Inter Milan and AC Milan, the Czech Republic's Slavia Prague, France's Olympique Lyon, and Spain's Atletico Madrid.

According to the report, Chinese investors have focused on high profile teams, with attempts to acquire majority stakes.

Chinese investments in world football jumped from zero in 2014 to 555 million euros in 2015, and 1.6 billion euros in 2016.

"It's the result of the country's sheer ambition to become a major player in this field, globally, and to bring home the know-how and kudos from each of these wins," explained Mark Dixon of Thinking-Linking.

The US came second, with investments of 313 million euros in teams such as RCD Mallorca, and Singapore was in third place with 256 million euros, mainly accounted for by business magnate Peter Lim's acquisition of Valencia.

Iran came fourth with investments of 253 million euros in clubs including the English Premier League's Everton, while the UK rounded off the top five, investing 182 million euros in teams including Australia's Melbourne City.

Surprisingly, the usual big spenders were lagging behind on the list, with Qatar in 12th place, with investments of 25 million euros, and Russia not even making it into the top 20.

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