Roundtable Discussions

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In football, there are always issues that are the source of long-standing debate for example, goal line technology or the trafficking of youth players. Because of the different interests involved these issues are often difficult to solve but are critical to resolve in order for the game to move on or improve.

AFDP is therefore committed to tackling major issues that affect AFDP’s key pillars areas (such as youth and women’s football) by conducting Round Table discussions. These initiatives involve AFDP bringing independent, international and regional experts in to Amman to explore and discuss the relevant issues in-depth – and most importantly, to develop concrete recommendations that can be forwarded on to the football organizations (for example, AFC or FIFA) concerned.

By clicking on the boxes below, you will find information pertaining to the AFDP Roundtable Discussions held to date.


MOVING FORWARD: THE HEADSCARF

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One of AFDP’s most notable achievements in its inaugural year was to facilitate the resolution of the long-standing debate of whether the headscarf could be worn on the field of play.

The first step involved AFDP hosting the very first Round Table event that brought together women’s football experts from all over the world discuss the issue. The resolutions emanating from the discussions were then provided to AFC who unanimously endorsed them and mandated HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein to present the case for lifting the ban on the headscarf to the FIFA who then passed the issue over to IFAB for decision.

Over the ensuing 6 months, AFDP undertook an intensive lobbying campaign which touched many people, achieved international attention, and drew the support of an incredible network of respected organizations all over the world including the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace, Nobel Peace Centre, Women’s Sport Foundation, International Association for Sport and Physical Activity for Women and Girls, AFC, CAF, FIFPro, and streetfootballworld.

The hard work of the AFDP paid off in July 2012 when IFAB announced it would allow the headscarf to be worn during play, in turn enabling 600 million Muslim women access to playing at the highest level.


MOVING FORWARD: ASIAN CLUB COMPETITIONS

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In October 2012, AFDP hosted a Roundtable Conference on the topic of Asian Club Competitions at the Dead Sea in Jordan.

Independent experts from different confederations, clubs, leagues, and organizations participated in a brainstorming session on the current status and future of the Asian club football competitions. The main focus of the discussion was the AFC Asian Champions League (ACL).

Prior to the Round Table, only 11 countries participated in the ACL. The main point agreed on by all participants is that AFC should extend participation to deserving clubs based on sporting merits and club licensing. There is also a perceived need to review criteria for the clubs to guarantee a level of quality but at the same time giving access to more clubs to use these top-level club competitions to improve football in their own country.

The current business model of the ACL was also addressed in discussions with the conclusion that more transparency and consideration of best practice is required.

Additionally, different competition formats were discussed with a preferred model proposed to AFC along with the other recommendations suggested by the independent experts for improvement of the ACL. AFC took these recommendations into strong consideration and in March 2013, subsequently expanded the competition to 23 countries.


MOVING FORWARD: WOMEN'S FOOTBALL IN WEST ASIA

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The Asian Football Development Project (AFDP) in partnership with the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) held a third Round Table titled Moving Forward: Women’s Football in West Asia in the Jordanian capital of Amman in early January 2013.

The seminar, sponsored by Zain, focused on identifying the next steps to develop women’s football in West Asia in light of the positive decision relating to the headscarf. The discussion also elaborated on how women’s football can be used as a platform for social development and identified how sponsors and other institutions can further support the development of women’s football in the region.

Participants included FIFA Vice President and AFDP Chairman HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Sheikha Naima Al Sabah of Kuwait, PepsiCo Vice President- Global Sport Marketing Jennifer Storms, CSR Director at Zain Tareq Bitar, Ambassador Wilfried Lemke (Special Advisor for UN SG on Sport for Peace and Development), AFC Vice President Moya Dodd, Women Development Manager at UEFA Emily Shaw, as well as representatives of 12 West Asian member associations and other football organizations

The seminar included presentations on the challenges and opportunities in women’s football in West Asia, followed by interactive working groups that focused on four key areas: Competitions, Governance, Marketing and Media & Communications. Each working group issued a series of recommendations on how to move women football forward in West Asia.

The two day seminar concluded with an encouraging announcement by FIFA Vice President and AFDP Chairman Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein that all WAFF member participants will receive 250 UEFA donated footballs for exclusive use for women’s football in their countries as a token of appreciation for their participation and contribution, and to provide further support for the development of women’s football in the region.

In his capacity as President of WAFF, Prince Ali also announced the nomination of Sheikha Naima Al Sabah of Kuwait to chair the woman committee in West Asia tasked with proposing and implementing a women’s football strategy for the region.