Prime Minister David Cameron with Michael Owen on a recent visit to Afghanistan
Prime Minister David Cameron with Michael Owen on a recent visit to Afghanistan

The Prime Minister has announced a new partnership between The FA, Premier League and their Afghan counterparts.

The partnership will support the growth and development of Afghan football and the benefits it brings to communities across Afghanistan.

During a trip to meet troops currently serving in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister was accompanied by FA Ambassador and former England international Michael Owen and representatives from the Afghan Football Federation (AFF) and Afghan Premier League (APL).

The delegation witnessed British and ANA troops enjoying a football session together and were told about the incredible impact football has already had in rebuilding communities across Afghanistan.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We often think of sport as just about a competition where you are either a winner or a loser but it also has an amazing power to bring people together and unite communities for the benefit of all involved.

“That’s exactly what is happening with football in Afghanistan. The team’s victory in the South Asia Cup captured the imagination of millions and brought together Afghans of all ages, communities and beliefs demonstrating to the rest of the world the spirit of the Afghan people and the potential of this country as a whole.

“I’m proud that we are building on this to broaden our relationship with Afghanistan. This fantastic partnership between English and Afghan football organisations promises to develop Afghan football at every level and demonstrates our steadfast commitment to help build a peaceful and stable Afghanistan not just on the battlefield but on the pitch too. I look forward to seeing this co-operation inspire future generations from the national team to Afghan school girls.”

The new partnership will support all levels of Afghan football, from grassroots, through the Afghan Premier League and up to the Afghan national team. It will also include support for women’s and youth football.

At its heart will be a partnership between The FA, the English Premier League, The Afghan Football Federation (AFF) and the Afghan Premier League (APL).

Together they will work to build Afghan capacity in football administration, training and education for the national and grassroots game.

Ali Aghazada, Secretary General of the Afghan Football Federation, said: “The UK is the mother of football and has some of the most successful teams in the world. This is exactly the sort of support we need to help us achieve our goal of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. It’s an ambitious goal, but over the last two years our athletes have demonstrated that Afghanistan has what it takes to win.”