Balls: Chinese football official claims genitals a key to talent-spotting

By Nick Harris

4 November 2010

A Chinese football club considers the size and shape of young players’ private parts as one factor in an overall assessment of whether they’re likely to make it as a player.

An unnamed coach from Tianjin Locomotive, who play in China’s third-tier League Two, told reporters that “many factors”, including “football IQ”, influence whether a young player will make the grade, and said that checking the genitals alone would be “ridiculous”.

But the coach, in an admission that would shock child protection agencies in many countries, also conceded that such checks were part of an assessment of young players. “Genital examination is necessary,” he is quoted as saying in a Nanjing newspaper, the Yangtze Evening Post (link to article here, and article reproduced in Chinese below). He added that signs of congenital testicular dysplasia would suggest hormone levels incompatible with professional sport.

The newspaper article itself acknowledges that Chinese football could become subject to ridicule because of the examinations, but also says there is a basis in science, quoting a Henan professor of reproductive medicine as saying: “Looking at a boy’s penis size and shape can give you an idea of his hormone level. Boys with short, thick genitals and tight scrotum are good for football playing.”

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