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Construction starts on Guangzhou stadium

Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande have kicked off construction on a new stadium.

The $1.7 billion venue will have a capacity of 100,000, making it one of the world’s largest arenas.

The stadium is scheduled to be ready by the end of 2022, according to Xinhua news agency. It is designed with the appearance of a blooming lotus and will become a landmark in Guangzhou, the “city of flowers”.

Eight-time Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande, who are coached by Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro and have won the AFC Champions League twice, average about 50,000 fans for home matches.

Evergrande’s Chinese Super League rivals Shanghai SIPG are building a new 33,000 capacity stadium, which is expected to be finished in 2021.

China will host the newly expanded 2021 FIFA Club World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, while Shanghai is interested in holding the Olympics.

Hosting world football events is a major objective in the Chinese government’s 2015 plan for football reform and development.