Wellington Phoenix announce exciting partnership with Chinese club Tianjin Tiger

A-Leagues club Wellington Phoenix have teamed up with Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The two teams will come together to promote the development of football in their cities as part of the exciting partnership.

Wellington and Tianjin – who are only one of four teams never to have been relegated from the CSL since its inception in 2004 and were runners-up in 2010, will also take part in an annual match between their men’s first teams.

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Tianjin will host the first Sister City Shield fixture in September, with the second match to be staged in Wellington next year.

“The mayoral delegation to China last year was invaluable and I’m thrilled about this partnership with Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, which will be of benefit to the club on multiple levels,” said Phoenix general manager David Dome.

“Not only will the men get to play a Chinese Super League side as part of their A- League pre season each year, but the academy will soon benefit from an influx of footballers from Tianjin.

“We’re looking to grow our academy to have an international component and Tianjin Jinmen have committed to sending some young players to Wellington to attend training camps in July and we’re discussing the possibility of their juniors being part of a new international academy annual programme.

“International students are essential for the secondary and tertiary education sector in Wellington and we are evaluating how an elite international academy focused on football can be part of New Zealand’s international education offering.”

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau added: “I’d like to congratulate David Dome and the wider team for the work they’ve done on this MoU.

“I’m beyond stoked that the delegation last September has resulted in this MoU between the Wellington Phoenix and Tianjin Jinmen Tiger.

“The development opportunities for both the clubs will be invaluable to not only football but also our cities.”

Tianjin is the home of former Perth Glory defender Alex Grant, who joined the Chinese club from Pohang Steelers in 2024.