(WFI) FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Hussein has called on FIFA and the organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to begin delivering legacy projects with immediate effect.

(WFI/James Corbett)

Speaking exclusively to INSIDER at a joint AFC/Asian Football Development Project (AFDP) seminar in Amman, Prince Ali called on the two parties to deliver on bid promises that the 2022 tournament would be for the benefit of the whole region.

Qatar’s winning bid was based on the premise of a World Cup for the entire Middle East with lavish pledges of grassroots engagement.

“One thing that I desire with the Qataris and FIFA is that the legacy projects should begin now and not after the World Cup, as has happened after other World Cups,” he said.

“I would like to see the legacy end on the kick off, rather than start afterwards.”

Sources at West Asian federations have complained to INSIDER of broken promises of assistance and of being sidelined as plans for the tournament materialise.

Prince Ali, who chairs FIFA’s Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee, added that federations, confederations, and FIFA have a “duty” to engage more thoroughly in corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies.

“I think not only Qatar, but there are a lot of countries in our region that have a lot of wealth who should be contributing to CSR,” he said.

“My idea and my proposal is that every organization and association, no matter what size it is – be it a federation, be it a confederation, or be it FIFA – should have at least a set amount or percentage that goes to CSR. I think that it is the right of all our people.

“There is so much that can be done and so much that needs to be done. I will definitely be trying to make them understand that it is a duty.”

(WFI/James Corbett)

Prince Ali was speaking at the end of an AFC-AFDP Corporate Social Responsibility Seminar, which he chaired. Around 50 West Asian stakeholders, including confederations, national federations, NGOs, and media joined the event at which the AFC’s 10-year CSR strategy was promoted.

Agreed upon in March, the strategy aims to introduce CSR policies into Asian federations, the majority of which currently lack such plans.

Asked if the effective blank paper most federations possessed was a benefit or a challenge, Prince Ali said it was of no consequence.

“One of the reasons we set up the AFDP was because we wanted to show how you could do things in maybe a little bit of a different way, a different environment, rather than one that is necessarily institutionalized.

“With the help of [NGO] Street World Football, experts from outside and contributors like UEFA who have established models, we have come up with a ten-year plan for the AFC that will help us in the vision that we have for the future.”

A Memorandum of Understanding between the AFC, AFDP, and One World Futbol was signed at the event, with One World Futbol donating 83,000 footballs to support Asian federations and AFDP CSR projects over the next 2 years. The pledge is worth around $800,000.

One World Futbol is an NGO supported by Chevrolet that provides footballs for use in hostile terrains, such as refugee camps, conflict zones, and other disadvantaged communities. The makers claim that the balls are virtually indestructible.

By INSIDER’s James Corbett

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