New global social enterprise to transform communities through football


HRH Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, an influential figure in international football and social change through sport, is behind the ambitious project.

Leading figures from the world of football and sport gathered at London’s Emirates Stadium today (Tuesday 9 October 2018) for the launch of Association Football Development Programme Global “AFDP Global”– an international social enterprise that aims to unite and transform communities around the world through football.

The driving force behind AFDP Global is His Royal Highness Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, an influential figure in international football and social change through sport. His current roles include founder and president of the West Asian Football Federation and president of the Jordan Football Association.

The new initiative builds on the successful model, spearheaded by His Royal Highness, of growing football development projects. In its original iteration, AFDP was established as an organisation focused on Asia and the Middle East. Its expanded global remit represents an ambitious step-change in Prince Ali’s work delivering social impact through football and a commitment to delivering sustainable results on a global scale.

AFDP Global will make a difference by funding specific initiatives, making equipment donations and providing other material support. It will also provide expert management and guidance to develop football and protect its values.

AFDP Global will be led by an expert global team headed by CEO JF Cecillon, a seasoned business leader whose experience includes top roles at EMI Music International, SEGA Europe and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

At today’s launch event, the audience heard from Prince Ali about the vision for the organisation and JF outlined its plans for the future, including new partnerships and the continuation of existing collaborations. Among the organisation’s initial tranche of collaborations announced today are:

  • War Child Football Club, a new programme devised by War Child UK, the charity for children affected by conflict. The programme aims to combine football with psychosocial support and life skills interventions to help equip children and young people with the skills needed to rebuild their futures. Its aim is to help reintegrate former child soldiers, bring together refugee and host communities, and give children the freedom to play.

War Child plans to launch War Child FC across seven countries over the next three years, some with the support of AFDP Global.

Rob Williams, CEO War Child UK, commented: “We are delighted to enter into partnership with AFDP Global. We have seen the quality of their work, and we know with their help War Child Football Club can reach thousands of children and young people in conflict-affected countries. AFDP Global shares our ambition and belief that football is a universal language with the power to make a huge difference in communities torn apart by war so we’re very excited to make this announcement”. 

  • The expansion of the cooperation on a wider scale with UEFA Foundation For Children, which uses sport to encourage improvements in areas of health and children’s education, and promotes access to sporting activity. The partnership will initially continue to deliver football programmes and provide safe spaces for Syrian refugees in Northern Jordan.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin commented: “Despite the circumstances they find themselves in, refugee children are still able to smile and enjoy life as much as possible at the football pitches, I am glad that the work carried out by the UEFA Foundation for Children with AFDP is giving these children opportunities that they otherwise would not have had.”

  • The globalisation of the collaboration with streetfootballworld (sfw); a leading global NGO that harnesses the power of football to tackle social challenges.

sfw Founder and CEO Juergen Griesbeck commented: “streetfootballworld is proud of its collaboration with HRH Prince Ali on projects in the Middle East and in Jordan. Together we have been able to make a real difference in people’s lives, harnessing the power of football to tackle the most pressing social challenges. We now look forward to exploring potential joint initiatives with AFDP Global going forward.”

  • The activation of the partnership with La Liga, which has recently launched a programme that gives coaches living in refugee camps access to high-level football training. 

Javier Tebas, President of La Liga, commented: “We always aim to join forces with international organisations to help develop football on a global level, especially in areas where development is needed most, that’s why we are very excited about supporting AFDP Global’s efforts that give hope and opportunity for refugees displaced by conflict”.

The collaborations will develop new opportunities to serve more children in various disadvantaged communities worldwide.

Commenting on the launch, His Royal Highness Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein said:

“I have always believed that football is much more than just a game and can be a force for uniting people in every country and context. I’ve seen how football shapes characters, creates leaders, and helps young people to overcome barriers and pursue their dreams and ambitions.

“We are proud of the change that we have already achieved through the transformative power of football, from watching children rebuild their confidence on the football pitch in the Jordanian refugee camp of Zaatari, and making it possible for girls and boys in Malaysia to play football and take part in tournaments safely, to our successful campaign to overturn FIFA’s ban on girls and women wearing a headscarf.

“However, a global game requires a global organisation, and this seems like the right time to step up and expand our work so that we can deliver our vision of football transforming communities, wherever and whenever this may be needed.”

JF Cecillon, CEO of AFDP Global, added:

“My team and I are delighted to be driving forward His Royal Highness’ lifetime ambition to use football to improve the lives of children and young people in communities in need. Building on this ambition, I know that we’re expanding on a successful heritage and are looking forward to working with new and existing partners and projects, from local charities to international NGOs, major sponsors and world class football figures to help meet this challenge head on.”

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Association Football Development Programme