The Dongguan Education Bureau issued a formal plan in April that will make playing football mandatory for the city’s students. Primary and secondary schools will be required, starting September this year, to add football to the curriculum as part of a national “football reform plan” championed in March by China’s first fan, Xi Jinping, who expects such actions to improve the nation’s football rankings. The new course has been marked to provide necessary equipment, facilities and a professional football coach. If all goes as planned, Dongguan will have installed the program in 40 schools by 2017. The program is promoted as an opportunity to improve student health and the framework for physical education in public schools, providing fundamental sporting skills to a nation of young athletes.