ZAATARI, Jordan – La Liga inaugurated on Sunday a soccer-based socio-educational project at Zaatari camp in Jordan in a bid to improve Syrian refugees’ quality of life.
“This is an important day in La Liga’s history,” La Liga president Javier Tebas said as he announced the launch of the enterprise along with Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan, founder of the Association Football Development Program (AFDP) Global.
“Two years ago, the prince suggested to me the idea in this stadium, and before a year we started the work bit by bit with the assistance of two La Liga members,” Tebas told the audience, among it about 700 Syrian children, all of whom currently benefit from the facility.
The president of La Liga was referring to Javier Garcia and Izzat Jandali who were moved a year ago to the camp to help enhance the quality of life of Syrian refugee children by leading sporting and socio-educational activities.
“It was a tough work during which we managed to train coaches and referees,” Tebas said, representing 33 Spanish clubs which had taken part in the initiative.
“We are here to stay. We have established our project on this basis,” the La Liga chief added.
Tebas urged players, coaches and referees to work so as “to demonstrate the values and ethics of La Liga and to work in the spirit of one team.”
For his part, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein said how pleased he was over the facility’s launch.
“The most important thing for us is to foster the youth,” he said in a short statement at the start of the event.
“We are proud of you, both boys and girls,” said Prince Ali, the head of the Jordanian Football Association.
The Zaatari camp, which is located 85 kilometers northeast of Amman, hosts about 80,000 Syrian refugees.
Jordanian officials put the number of Syrian refugees in the country at about 1.3 million, but the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says that about 650,000 Syrian refugees are currently registered in the Middle Eastern nation.
Fernando Sanz, director of International Institutional Relations and director of La Liga Ambassadors and Legends Project, underscored the importance of teaching La Liga values to the new players.
“The transmission of values is very important,” he said.
“We shoulder the responsibility of training children and moving the soccer game from one generation to another,” said Sanz who played for Real Madrid between 1995 and 1999.