Doha GOALS: making a difference through sport

Today more than ever, our troubled world needs to promote the universal values of sport. Improving access to sport across the planet, notably toward the youth, is the best way to teach perseverance and respect of the rules (and of others).

As the second edition of the Doha Goals Forum ended yesterday in Qatar, I am very proud to witness what we have achieved over the past twelve months. Beyond high-level talks held in Doha, the Forum has indeed always been conceived as a call for action. A call which was superbly heard with the signatures of our first four life-changing initiatives.

The first project to be signed has been the Doha GOALS Sport Fields Initiative, which is intended on building combined football and basketball fields in different cities around the world in order to provide free access to sport facilities for local communities, particularly underprivileged youth.

The first step of this initiative is the constructionof three sports fields in the cities of Port Gentil (Gabon), Nablus (Palestine) and Mazar-e-Sharif (Afghanistan). We have already signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the three cities.

Our second initiative is the Doha GOALS Prosthetics Programme which has been launched in partnership with the Katarina Witt Foundation. As quality prosthetics are expensive and a lack of mobility impedes participation in sports and in the community and isolates amputees in most emerging countries, we wanted to act to change this situation.

Doha GOALS will provide the opportunity for children around the world to get access to prosthetics. We are particularly honored to launch the initiative with such ambassadors as current French and US Open Wheelchair Tennis champion Stephane Houdet and three-time Chinese Paralympic gold medallist Hou Bin.

We also launched a third initiative, the Doha GOALS Sport Solidarity Fund, which plans on setting up a multimillion-dollar international Sport Solidarity Fund 'from the athletes to the athletes' to support athletes and their families when suffering from sustained injuries as well as during post-retirement.

The fund will notably provide funding for counseling and consulting services for current professional athletes and their families to prepare them for retirement, it will also include a post career angel fund to finance for business ideas and ventures for retiring athletes. It will also finance internships and training programmes, education funds and scholarships, as well as a health fund for injured athletes.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that the Doha Goals will support the Aspire Academy and La Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (LFP) to organize an International U-15 Football Championship which will take place from April 11-14 at the Aspire Zone. It will feature 10 young football teams from the top clubs in Europe and two Qatari teams.