Chinese babies should be trained to play football - President Xi

Chinese president Xi Jinping
"The sports world, and especially the footballing world, needs to grab the opportunity, and be audacious in reform," say's China's 'football reform plan'

China should start training babies if the country is to be successful at football, says President Xi Jinping.

The government has approved the country's "football reform plan", and says being good at football is the "ardent wish of the whole nation".

In its summary of the reform plan, state news agency Xinhua said: "Grasp the development opportunity as babies."

Xi, a football fan, has three wishes for China - to qualify for another World Cup, to host one and to win one.

The Asian nation, which has a population of around 1.35bn people, is 82nd in the world rankings.external-link

China qualified for its one and only World Cup appearance at the 2002 finals, which were held in Japan and South Korea, losing all three group games, without scoring a goal.