Who We Are
His Royal Highness Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein Founder
"Football plays an important role in strengthening relations between nations and people of different cultures and backgrounds"
Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein is the son of the late King Hussein and Queen Alia of Jordan. Throughout his 15 years in football leadership positions, he has been an advocate for development and good governance.
Prince Ali was educated in Jordan, the United Kingdom and United States. He graduated from Salisbury School in Connecticut in 1993 and attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.Read More
The Prince is an honorary major general in the Jordanian Armed Forces and served as commander of the King’s Special Security in Jordan’s Royal Guards from 1999 until 2008. He left to establish Jordan’s National Centre for Security and Crisis Management. Prince Ali has used football to promote development throughout Asia, focusing on young people and women’s football. In 1999, he became president of the Jordan Football Association and a year later, he founded the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), an organisation which he remains president of. In 2012, Prince Ali founded the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), a non-profit based in Amman, Jordan. It promotes football in Asia and empowers young people and women in the region through the sport. AFDP spearheaded successful campaigns to lift the ban on headscarves in football and increase the number of countries taking part in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League from 11 to 23. Prince Ali sat on the executive committee at AFC itself. He has also chaired its social responsibility committee and been deputy chair of its development committee. On the basis of his commitment to unite and energise Asian football, Prince Ali was elected the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) vice president for Asia in 2011. He has also sat on the executive committee at FIFA, chaired its fair play and social responsibility committee and been deputy chair of its football committee. Prince Ali holds a number of foreign decorations, including the Al-Nahda decoration of the first degree from the United Arab Emirates, a British Knighthood (KCVO), the French Légion d’honneur, and the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan. He is also chair of Jordan’s Royal Film Commission.
Paul Hijazin Board Director & Chair of TrusteesPaul Hijazin Board Director & Chair of Trustees
Paul has had a varied career in journalism and is now an adviser to HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein. He has interviewed many world leaders, prime ministers and senior officials, and covered war zones, as well as natural disasters, in the Middle East and internationally.
Paul arrived to his current role from Sky News Arabia, where he headed up the network’s Washington DC-based team.
He started his television career with CBS news in Amman, Jordan, during the first Gulf War. After finishing his degree in broadcasting in the US, Paul returned to Jordan to work as a reporter and anchor of the English news on Jordan Television Corporation (JTV). He later became a programming manager for ATV, the first private TV station in Jordan.
In the US, Paul worked at Al Jazeera as a correspondent in Washington DC and then at the press office at the city’s Jordanian Embassy.
In Dubai, Paul was a reporter and presenter at MBC News, an evening news anchor on Dubai TV and executive producer for current affairs shows on English language entertainment television channel Dubai One.
Paul also reported for CNBC Europe and CNN and was one of the first Jordanian reporters to cover the second uprising in Palestine in 2000.
Abdullah Suleiman Project ManagerAbdullah Suleiman Project Manager
Abdullah has been a project manager for HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and AFDP since 2011. He was involved in the Prince’s International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) presidency campaigns.
Before taking up this role, Abdullah was a performance consultant at FIFA, developing football projects in West Asia. And, at Midrar Sports in Jordan, Abdullah worked in marketing and organised sporting events in football, mixed martial arts, and boxing.
His first experience of working in football was heading up the international relations department at the Jordan Football Association. Abdullah has been a consultant for FIFA in Amman and managed projects with artificial turf manufacturers in Jordan.
He has been involved in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup 2018 and Cup Final 2007.
Before starting his career in sport, Abdullah managed three successful trading companies and worked in international trading and procurement.
He has a degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and spends his free time doing activities related to his love of cars.
- Amman Office
HRH Prince Ali Bin Hussein Chair
Yuuichiro NakajimaYuuichiro Nakajima
Yuuichiro has over 30 years’ experience in corporate finance and is an experienced non-executive director and adviser.
He founded, and is a managing director of, his own M&A advisory company, Crimson Phoenix, which works with leading Japanese and Western corporates.
Yuuichiro has vast experience at the board level. He is a Non-executive Director and member of the Audit and Nominations Committees of JPMorgan Japan Smaller Companies Trust plc, a London-listed investment trust that invests in companies on the Japanese stock markets.
Since 2017, Yuuichiro has been a member of the Audit and Compliance Committee at Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The Committee checks FIFA’s financial accounting, reviews their external auditors’ report and oversees legal and regulatory compliance.
He has been a member of various committees at the Asian Football Confederation, the governing body of football in Asia, since 2011. In these roles, he has overseen AFC’s finances, challenged its governance practice and coordinated an investigation into past financial misconduct by certain individuals.
At the Japan Football Association (JFA), Yuuichiro was involved in Japan’s bid to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. He is currently a member of JFA’s Advisory Board as well as its International Committee, a consultative body on overseas activities.
A Japanese national, Yuuichiro studied at London Business School (a British Council scholar) and at Keio University. He plays for the London Japanese Football Club and YKT Football Club in Tokyo. He is also a JFA-registered player and referee.
Jim has had a 30-year career in sports administration and management.
He was campaign manager for HRH Prince Ali bin Al Hussein’s International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) 2016 presidential campaign.
Since 2014, he has worked as manager of community sport at Sport New Zealand, the country’s sport and recreation agency.
Between 2007 and 2014, he was Chief Executive of Equestrian Sports New Zealand and prior to that the Executive Director of University Sport New Zealand.
He emigrated from the UK to New Zealand in 2004. For the preceding ten years, Jim worked for the British Universities Sports Association in London. He retains a close interest in university sport and is a commission member of FISU, the International University Sport Federation.
He grew up in Bristol before studying economics at the University of Sussex. Jim has a lifetime passion for Bristol Rovers Football Club.
He plays football himself, as a goalkeeper, and has coached and refereed his children’s football teams. Jim lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with his wife Katy and children Sam, 16, and Molly, 12.
A qualified lawyer and retired footballer, James is now a sports administrator who has represented governing bodies, clubs and players.
He is currently Senior Vice President, External Affairs, at City Football Group. He was previously head of professional football at International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), where he managed the secretariat of the football stakeholders committee. At FIFA, he established relationships with international clubs, leagues and players.
Prior to this, James was director of international relations and development at the Asian Football Confederation. He oversaw relationships with Asia’s 46 national associations, development activities, as well as ethics and integrity at the organisation. He also worked for Professional Footballers Australia, managing strategic relationships with professional footballer players and legal affairs.
As a lawyer, James practiced in the private sector in corporate governance, industrial relations and commercial litigation. He has a degree in business administration, minoring in finance, from Boston University (USA), a Juris Doctorate (Hons) from Bond University (Australia) and a legal diploma from the College of Law (Australia).
James has been a featured speaker at sports conferences across the globe and recently received international recognition through the Leaders Under 40 Awards which recognise the best global talent in the sports business.
As a footballer, James represented Australia at a youth level and has played for various clubs in Australia, Asia and the USA.
He lives in Knutsford in the UK, is married to Jessica and has three children Portia, Quinn and Lincoln.
Amanda VandervortAmanda Vandervort
Amanda is a sports business executive with a 20-year track record of leadership and innovation stretching across all areas of the game. She believes that everyone who wants to get involved in football should have an opportunity to do so, and benefit from the education and support to be successful.
As vice president of fan engagement at Major League Soccer (MLS), the first division men’s football league in the US, Amanda works with club executives to drive revenue and deliver compelling fan experiences. She was previously responsible for the league’s fan relationship management, data analytics and social media teams. This work was instrumental in the organisation winning Sports Business Journal’s 2018 Best in Social Media award.
Amanda was an instructor for Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) women’s football for six years. She has led workshops on women’s football development, marketing and communications in India, Jamaica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Tanzania.
Before she joined MLS, Amanda helped launch Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), a first-division women’s professional football league in the US, leading the organisation’s media properties to become a global leader in women’s football.
Amanda has played football as a goalkeeper at youth, high school, college and adult levels. She was captain for the University of Wyoming women’s football team and head women’s football coach at New York University.
She has a diploma in football coaching from the US Soccer Federation (USSF) and served for 10 years on the board of directors for United Soccer Coaches, a non-profit football coaches’ organization in the US. In 2016, she became the fifth female president in United Soccer Coaches’ 75-year history.
Amanda has spoken at several top sports business conferences and events and was named a Sports Business Journal Game Changer in 2016.
A native of Tucson, Arizona, in the US, Amanda lives in New York with her husband Ethan. She enjoys decorating cakes for corporate events, birthdays and weddings.
Karina LeBlancKarina LeBlanc
Karina has the distinguished honour of being Canada’s longest serving international soccer player. Over a prestigious 18-year international career, LeBlanc represented her country in five FIFA World Cups, two Olympic Games and two Pan American Games.
A prominent goalkeeper in the US Professional Soccer Leagues, LeBlanc played for nine clubs and in many championship games, winning with the Portland Thorns. LeBlanc was a member of the history-making Canadian team who won a Bronze Medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Her heroics in the 2011 Pan Am Games – stopping two penalties in the final – helped to secure a momentous team Gold for Canada. With 110 international appearances, LeBlanc was the beating heart of a Canada team that changed the face of football in North America.
Karina was appointed as an AFDP Global ambassador in March 2019 and was recently appointed Head of Women’s Football for Concacaf.
Robert PiresRobert Pires
Robert is a French football star and current professional coach, whose remarkable legacy as a player is known the world over.
Pires was a key member of an unforgettable Arsenal side, that won two FA Cups and two Premier League titles and were coined ‘The Invincibles’ for their dominant, unbeaten season in 2003–04. An outstanding professional for 22 years, Pires was also a talisman for France, Metz, Marseille and Villareal. In his eight-year international career, Pires earned 79 caps for France, winning both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 UEFA European Championship.
He is as an Ambassador for Arsenal, La Liga, The Premier League and Puma, and was appointed as an ambassador for AFDP Global in March 2019