China may be the most populous country in the world with growing importance on the global stage but, as football fan Clive Anderson discovers, international success at the world's most popular sport has eluded this vast country.
In Beijing and Guangzhou, Clive explores why China ranks only 82nd in the world and has only qualified for one World Cup, despite the huge popularity of football among fans.
Football in China has been plagued by years of corruption scandals, match fixing and bribery, and over 50 football officials were imprisoned in a crackdown in 2012. Clive speaks to a former Chinese player who found himself involved in the scandal, discussing how it has affected the game.
Does football really matter when the country is becoming so successful economically? The country's President Xi Jinping thinks it does. A football fan himself, he's issued a major reform to try and turn the game around and put China on a course to win the World Cup. He's even invited stars such as David Beckham to become an ambassador for the game.
Clive visits clubs, matches, and the largest football academy in the world, built by a multi-billion dollar property tycoon, to find out whether efforts to improve the national game are paying off.
The European leagues are also keen to get in on the Chinese game by training coaches. In the second programme, Clive considers what impact China's desire for football success has had on its relationship with the rest of the footballing world.
Produced by Jo Wheeler
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.