Not prepared to play fair

8th May 2009 at 01:00

Running a school sports team can be a frustrating business. It's hard to fill a whole team with talented players and the temptation to bring in an outside "ringer" to bolster your chances can be strong.

But a school in China just had to take it a bit further. Not content with fielding one or two players from other schools, Daping Junior High decided to enlist en masse, packing its squad with members of the junior national team and other top sides.

It paid off in spectacular style, when the team, from Chongqing in southwest China, won the World Middle School Football Championships in Turkey last month, beating teams from Brazil, Italy and France along the way, before defeating a German side on penalties in the final.

They might have got away with it if the Chinese media had not become suspicious of their success. Zhang Jianling, principal, eventually confessed that three members of the squad were pupils and the rest were recruited.

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