State Council wants to promote football in schools… by forcing every child to play

By Cecilia Wang, November 28, 2014

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China’s State Council just came up with the perfect solution to change the sorry state of Chinese football: force every student at school to play. Because in a country of over 1.3 billion people, there’s bound to be 11 who don’t suck, right?

China’s education minister Yuan Guiren said on Wednesday that in order to promote football in schools, the sport will become a compulsory part of physical education in primary and middle schools. Schools will also keep a record on students’ football skills, and face regular inspections.

Since president Xi Jinping expressed his enthusiasm for the sport, the relevant organs have been busy amending policies regarding football.

In July, the education ministry laid out plans to establish football tournaments in primary, middle and high schools, as well as universities. Enrollment policies are set to be relaxed so it will be easier for schools and colleges to recruit talented footballers.

With China’s professional football plagued with scandals of match-fixing, illegal betting and bribing for over a decade, the national side’s FIFA ranking now stands at a shameful 88th. Even China’s anti-graft watchdog condemn the country’s professional football as “underperforming and corrupt”.

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