The West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) and Para Football, an international body of football for persons with disabilities, organised the West Asia #FootballForAll Festival with the support of the AFC Dream Asia Foundation in December 2022 in the capital city of Jordan.
Along with the events key partners, the Jordan Football Association (JFA) and the Jordan Paralympic Committee, the festival was held over December 2/3 and commemorated Para Football’s #FootballForAll weekend as well as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities which is celebrated worldwide on December 3.
The festival was a shining example of upholding the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s vision of harnessing the power of football to foster an inclusive community where everyone is given a chance to be part of the football ecosystem.
Day 1 of the workshop saw players cultivate a passion for the game as well as valuable life skills through football themed activities that were aimed at teaching the participants lessons in confidence building, respect for the rules, team work and managing their emotions and behaviour.
Other activities of the first day included Disability Inclusive Safeguarding Workshops which was attended by coaches and representatives of WAFF Member Associations (MAs) who participated in both theoretical and practical sessions.
On the second day, the festival featured several informal matches that provided the participating players with an opportunity to interact and engage with peers from other MAs.
The festival firmly followed a pan-disability approach that enabled players with different disabilities to play in a single format, thereby encouraging participants to embrace the beautiful game with minimal inhibitions.
Finally, the festival drew to an end with all attendees coming together to receive awards and tokens of appreciation and more importantly, to celebrate the achievements of players with disabilities.
Besides hosts Jordan, the other MAs attending the festival included the Lebanese Football Association, the Iraqi Football Association, the Syrian Football Association, and the Palestine Football Association.
Following the remarkable success and massive potential of the programme, the organisers are hopeful of making the event an annual celebration.