BEIJING - Soccer superstar David Beckham has been named an ambassador for the Chinese Super League, the country's football association said, a move that has been widely anticipated but also criticised.
The former England captain will visit three times during the season from March to November to promote the sport in China and attract the global spotlight, the China Football Association said in a statement.
"Beckham will come to China to promote youth football and serve as ambassador to the Chinese Super League (CSL)," it said, touting the athlete's success in boosting the popularity of the sport worldwide.
"His arrival will bring international attention to Chinese football and, at the same time, his personal involvement will be a good way to make Chinese football more international."
State media, however, cast doubt on whether Beckham - with French club Paris Saint-Germain - could repair the image of a sport scarred by match-fixing and bribery scandals.
A three-year inquiry resulted last month in 33 people receiving life bans and the former club of Didier Drogba, Shanghai Shenhua, being stripped of their 2003 league title.