The Asian Football Confederation is still in it. Though the organisation has slipped in recent years, notably the issue surrounding ex-President Mohammed Bin Hammam, corruption allegations and its steadfast allegiance towards Sepp Blatter, but on Saturday this past week the AFC attested to its commitment in regards to sustaining social responsibility activities around the continent.
The AFC recently financed a housing project to construct an AFC Village in Tacloban, the Philippines with the intention of providing accommodation and a grassroots football program for the residents. The project was introduced to aid victims of the Haiyan/Yolanda typhoon, one of the toughest storms to hit the country in 2013, destroying the community, killing thousands and leaving many homeless.
Collaborating with the Philippines Football Federation (PFF), the land for the project was very generously donated by a well-wisher from the region. Built on 7 acres, the village houses 27 apartments and a football pitch worked on with the help of Leyte Football Association (LFA) – the official governing body for football in the province of Leyte, while the AFC’s CSR partner One World Play Project gave away their resilient footballs to the residents in the village.
Though the distractions within the functioning of the organisation are unavoidable, with this act of the social good, AFC has reminded many of us on the true power of football. To address the intensity and worth of the campaign, this AFC Village project in the Philippines was nominated for the esteemed Asia Sports Industry Awards (SPIA) under the ‘Best Sports CSR Initiative’ category, where they came in second picking up a silver.
Whether Sheikh Salman had a one-off inspiration or just a short-lived respectable moment, time will tell, but the AFC Village project is a tangible example of how the power of football can be harnessed for the common good.