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Chinese football fans vote for Arsenal and the PL but not England

Football fans in China love Arsenal, cite the English Premier League as their favourite division, but are more likely to root for Germany at the World Cup according to research carried out by Coventry University's Centre for the International Business of Sport (CIBS), reports fcbusiness.. In the biggest ever study of its kind, nearly 16,000 football fans from across China were surveyed online via one of the country's most popular social media sites, and were asked to identify their favourite teams at club and national level, as well as their favourite league.

Arsenal edges Manchester United to top the list of most popular clubs amongst fans, the Gunners being selected by 3,785 respondents to United's 3,210. AC Milan are the third most popular club in China (with 2,204 respondents) followed by Real Madrid (1,959 respondents) and Barcelona (1,930).

Germany comes out top of the national team favourites (3,118), followed by Italy (2,488) and Spain (2,418). Despite having the two most popular clubs, England is only the fourth most popular national team with 2,393 respondents. China's favourite South American national teams are Argentina (1,372) and Brazil (1,120).

The English Premier League is overwhelmingly the favourite national division amongst the Chinese fans, coming in way ahead of its nearest global rivals with 7,697 respondents (almost 50 per cent).

Spain's La Liga is second (3,910 respondents) and Italy's Serie A ranks in third place (3,614). Germany's Bundesliga, however, appears to have some way to go to win the hearts of Chinese fans, receiving 318 votes by respondents.

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