Getting the ball rolling, March 19

19 Mar 2015

It's the world game - and now the world's most populous nation has soccer dominance in its sights. An ambitious plan to revamp soccer in China has come from the very top, with President Xi Jinping chairing a meeting on the game's resurgence. The plan will start at the grass roots, with more than 20,000 schools to have soccer as part of their curriculum by 2017. The plan also has the sport's governing body on the mainland becoming independent from the government regulator, with the ultimate goal being China hosting the World Cup finals. Photographers from Imaginechina, ChinaFoto Press, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Reuters and Xinhua captured aspects of the beautiful game from homes and schools to royal fans and big names such as Prince William and David Beckham.