Alipay, the world’s leading payment and lifestyle platform, announced an initiative to support the long-term development of women’s football in China, committing ¥1 billion over the next decade on a wide array of areas to make the sport more sustainable and accessible to girls and women across the nation.

The initiative is funded primarily by the Alipay Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to promoting social inclusiveness. Other contributors include the Jack Ma Foundation and Joe Tsai Foundation (PRC). The funds will be allocated in four main areas to provide comprehensive, long-term support: performance improvement of the China Women’s National Football Team; injury prevention and treatment, and career development of retired footballers; technical development and coach education; and youth development. The use of funds will be jointly managed by the Alipay Foundation, Jack Ma Foundation, Joe Tsai Foundation and the Chinese Football Association.

The initiative is an extension and expansion of Alipay’s two-year-long program to support girls’ football in Qiongzhong Li and Miao Autonomous County, Hainan Province, where several girls are enrolled in national youth teams. It is also supported by Alipay’s mission to bring more equal opportunities to the world.

“Over the past two years, I’ve seen from the girls in Qiongzhong that football has brought them more than just physical fitness and technical skills. It has also opened doors for them to more life options and opportunities, as well as tenacity and fighting spirit,” said Eric Jing, Chairman and CEO of Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Alibaba Group and the operator of Alipay. “This has strengthened our determination to expand our support and enable more development and innovation in women’s and girls’ football in China.”

Separately, the Alipay Foundation also announced The Wind Rider Project, an initiative dedicated to supporting girls’ football in rural China.

“We are very grateful for Alipay’s unprecedented, 10-year commitment to women’s football in China. Women’s football is not just a sport, but also a powerful social cause that encourages girls and women to pursue their dreams and ambitions,” said Cai Yong, Executive Committee Member of the Chinese Football Association.