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Peace Match 2015: Great Britain and Afghanistan Unite

HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan with co founders – Kashif Siddiqi and Elias Figueroa, supported by Harry Redknapp and Ally McCoist at the Peace Match 2015.

“Our aim through the Football for Peace movement is to harness the power of the beautiful game to unite people in today’s hostile climate. We inspire understanding and help break down misunderstandings between communities and cultures which can transcend from grassroots to governments. Through this Peace Match we have brought together two nations in order to create dialogue and help unite them through football”

– Kashif Siddiqi, Pakistan international footballer 

On Tuesday 8th of September 2015, Football For Peace hosted a private and historical 5 aside football Peace Match, at the old Royal Naval college in London Greenwich. Her Majesty’s Royal NAVY and Football for Peace, used sports diplomacy for reconciliation between Afghanistan and Great Britain with a strong legacy planned in both countries post match. The Match was due to be held on the RFA Argus hospital ship, however due to unforeseen circumstances the match was moved to the iconic location in Greenwich. The match was delivered in partnership with the City of London, Birmingham City Council, Armed Forces Muslim Forum and the Afghanistan Football Federation.

Football for Peace (FfP) is a global movement which creates dialogue and unites people through football, locally, nationally and internationally.

As part of the peace process, Football for Peace brought together two nations uniting for peace, to play against a selected Footballers for Peace team. This unique match of uniting two nations on one team, was the launch of Football for Peace Global to the diplomatic and sporting world.

While European national teams battle for EURO16 qualification, the former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp led a unified Afghanistan and Great Britain national team to victory in the 2015 Peace Match!

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Redknapp’s side, which included former internationals Robbie Savage, Ally McCoist and Steve Lomas as well as three members of the Afghanistan national team, beat a Football for Peace side in front of a private crowd that included potential FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.

The Football for Peace team featured the likes of ex-Spurs legend Ramon Vega, the former chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Clarke Carlisle, and Pakistani defender Kashif Siddiqi. Siddiqi is the co-founder of the Football for Peace movement alongside Chilean legend Elias Figueroa, the three-time South American Player of the Year!

The five-a-side contest ended 6-5 in Afghanistan and Great Britain’s favour and even featured a light-hearted red card for Redknapp who ran onto the field of play after a McCoist goal – a sensational chip – was ruled out.

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“I thought the referee made a mistake, but I shouldn’t have run on, I guess,” joked Redknapp. “I put Robbie (Savage) in goal for the second half because we were winning 5-1. When he let the fifth in, I thought that might have been a mistake!”

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At the final whistle, Afghanistan’s Obaidullah Karimi said that the match had gone a long way to reinforcing football’s reputation as a unifying force. “When you used to mention Afghanistan people would immediately think about war – everything would be negative,” he said. “Right now, with football, we are creating unity. The sport is bringing people out onto the streets – it’s bringing them joy. This afternoon’s match has shown how important football is and how it can help to bring peace.”

Football for Peace Global now move on to the most important step, with the support of both governments, to leave a legacy behind in the needed areas of Afghanistan and Great Britain. The aim is to blueprint the work with Birmingham City Council in making Birmingham a City of Peace. Kabul will also be made a City of Peace by uniting tribes and schools form different provinces. The intentions of the Peace Match were to help raise awareness and create the dialogue for the two nations, having achieved that, the charity can transition to the The Football for Peace Process. FfP will be working with the Foreign Office to deliver a long-lasting project and lay the foundations for a brighter future for the youth of the respective nations.

FfP would like to thank our sponsors DCD Group, City of London, Works, Syncoms, BT Sports and Hummel