FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter started a four-day trip in the Middle East today with a visit to Jordan.
The FIFA President and HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, FIFA Vice-President and President of the Jordan Football Association (JFA), inaugurated two FIFA Goal projects, namely an artificial turf pitch and an installation of floodlights at the Al Hussein Sport city in Amman. "Such state-of-the-art facilities will enable to enhance the practice of football, especially for the youth. Football development is FIFA's key mission. FIFA is building for the future", said the FIFA President.
In addition to the FIFA Goal project inauguration, a grassroots festival took place at the same time, with kids singing, "Thank you, FIFA!". The event was followed by a meeting with the Board of the JFA and a press conference. But in addition to these football development activities, the programme also included solidarity initiatives.
Earlier this year, FIFA, following a request from the JFA, had decided to donate $200,000 to help Syrian refugees in Jordan. That funding will enable the creation of an artificial turf pitch in the village of Al Turrah, where many Syrian refugees are currently living. Joseph S. Blatter and HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein officially launched the pitch construction project in Al Turrah today.
"Football cannot stop people's sufferings. But for sure it has the power to bring support to people. I hope that our contribution to ease the access to football for the Syrian refugees will bring them some moments of smile and relief during this extremely hard time," said Blatter.
Furthermore, 15,000 t-shirts were donated by FIFA to the refugees throughout Jordan, including at the Zaatari refugee camp, which the FIFA delegation visited. Administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the camp numbers 115,000 Syrian refugees - the second largest refugee camp in the world today.
At a briefing at the Zaatari refugee camp, UNHCR representative Peres Abeka said, "Engaging kids in sport activities is key." The FIFA delegation then proceeded to a football pitch installed in the camp by the Save the Children organisation, where kids were enjoying playing football.