Since President Xi Jinping's campaign against official corruption has made a difference, the nation's self-proclaimed biggest soccer fan therefore seems just the man to inspire a turnaround in the fortunes of the nation's biggest spectator sport, following a series of bribery and fraud scandals that have stained its reputation and disillusioned many fans. From 2010 he steered a clean-up of the sport that resulted in jail terms, fines and lifetime bans for guilty officials and players. But it is yet to be reflected in success on the field, a craving articulated by Xi in three wishes when he began the clean-up - for China to qualify for another World Cup, host a World Cup and win a World Cup. China has shown it can host the biggest sporting events. But, starting from such a low base, qualifying for and then winning a World Cup is a mission for a new generation. As a result Xi has made repeated calls for improved education in the sport among youngsters - tomorrow's stars. Education authorities have answered his appeal. Wang Jun, head of sport, health and arts for the Beijing Commission of Education, says the capital has drawn up 20 measures to improve soccer education on Beijing campuses, including making the game an option in the high-school entrance examination's sports test in 2016. He envisages the capital will have 100,000 youngsters studying the finer points of the game within three years at three school training centres and 200 schools. Nationally, the Ministry of Education has revealed plans to build 20,000 schools with soccer pitches and training facilities by 2017, and for 200 universities to have competitive teams by 2017. These visions bear the hallmarks of a state-based system. Continuing state support is vital at the school level - but at arm's length. If China is to put its faith in youth, dedicated professionals should be in charge of building the foundations of success. It is good therefore that the Beijing plan envisages the hiring of foreign and domestic specialists, senior coaches and retired players to develop soccer education.