In the blizzard of bad publicity that seems to overwhelm FIFA week in, week out, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that much good work is carried out by the organisation and the extended FIFA family.
One of the more progressive members for its executive committee is Prince Ali Bin Hussein, who has frankly been a breath of fresh air since his elevation to the Exco just over two years ago.
Ali, who chairs FIFA’s social responsibility committee and the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), and is the younger brother of Jordan’s ruler, King Abdullah, has seen a mounting humanitarian crisis in his own country. More than 200,000 refugees from neighbouring Syria are being joined by 3,000 of their compatriots each day. The situation is dire to say the least with foreign aid failing to keep pace with the influx of refugees.
The Syrian refugees join a long established refugee population from Palestine that threatens to overwhelm a country of Jordan’s size and resources.
What is football to do in a situation like this? Even a sport as ambitious and all consuming and wealthy as football has its limitations. But that’s not to say it should do nothing. Football can unite, give hope to the desperate, and inform.
It is the latter that the AFDP is seeking to utilise over the next four months at the Zaatari Refugee Camp as part of a collaboration with stakeholders including the Jordanian FA and the United Nations High Commision for Refugees. They will use football activities to promote Mine Risk Education (MRE) to 3,500 at-risk refugee children in an attempt to reduce the number of child fatalities and injuries that may be caused by land mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW).
The organisers say that the project ‘will also capitalize on the positive values of mutual respect and coexistence that football represents through football tournaments that bring Jordanian and Syrian communities together on the field.’
‘We are pleased that the coach training workshops were successful. We look forward to working together with our partners to begin the next phase of the project thereby benefitting all Syrian refugee children in Northern Jordan’, said Prince Ali.
Donations can be made to the charity Spirit of Soccer, which is supporting the project by clicking here