Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Red hot football news

FIFA Vice President, HRH Prince Ali of Jordan
Spent an hour at Raffles Le Royal Hotel earlier today to finalise the details of a rare visit to Cambodia by one of world football's high-profile administrators. There are few of football's powerbrokers who make the news but HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan is one of them. Most recently he fought for the rights of Muslim female footballers to wear the head veil, or hijab, and won. That was no easy task for the youngest member of FIFA's senior hierarchy, he's still in his mid-30s. As one of eight Vice Presidents of FIFA, the world governing body of the game, and the main man as far as Asia is concerned on the executive committee, he's also charged with championing fair play and social responsibility, making him one of the new breed amongst the game's leading figures. His three day visit to Cambodia beginning on Sunday is to recognise and reward the efforts of the SALT Academy and the Mighty Girls program in Battambang, under the auspices of his own Asian Football Development Project which focuses on grassroots and women's rights. As soon as he touches down in Phnom Penh, he'll be whisked off to the Olympic Stadium to oversee the opening of a new youth football league and he might even squeeze in a visit to Phnom Penh Crown's open day in the afternoon. Next morning it's a trip by helicopter to Battambang, where the Crown head coach Sam Schweingruber will head the SALT Academy delegation, a program he started more than six years ago. Next morning, Tuesday, I'll be the MC at a press conference by the Prince at the Elephant Bar at Raffles to explain his role in aiding Asian countries with their development, before he heads off to Bhutan, on the next leg of his trip. People of his stature rarely come to Cambodia with football as their focus and his interest, influence and involvement cannot be understated. This is red hot news.

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