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The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) social responsibility project – the ultra-durable balls – won gold in the ‘Best Sports CSR Initiative’ category at the prestigious Asia Sports Industry Awards (SPIA) on Tuesday in Bangkok, Thailand.

The ultra-durable balls project which is based on the One World Futbol created by One World Play Project, is part of the AFC’s partnership with One World Play Project to leverage on the beautiful game as a platform to enrich lives and bring about positive social outcomes. The One World Futbols are recognised as a breakthrough in ball technology—the ultra-durable balls never need a pump and never go flat.

AFC Social Responsibility Committee Member Ms. Nin Siriwat who received the award in a glittering ceremony at the Centara World Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand, said, “The AFC is deeply honoured to receive this award and we are very proud of the wonderful work undertaken by the Member Associations to improve and inspire communities through football. 

“Under the banner of One Asia, One Goal, the AFC has set a clear Vision and Mission to use football as tool for social development. This award exemplifies the power of football to bring joy, empower our youth and bridge communities across the continent.”

The ultra-durable balls project was awarded the gold award amongst a competitive field of 208 entries from 17 countries across 19 categories. Since its partnership with One World Play Project in 2013, the AFC has donated more than 175,000 ultra-durable balls to 28 Member Associations, reaching close to three million children across Asia.

“Our mission is to champion play anywhere and everywhere,” said Stephen Sonderman, Asia Director, One World Play Project. “Together with the AFC, we’ve been able to empower children across Asia through the power of play. We’re honoured to receive this award as part of the AFC’s project and look forward to continued collaboration in the region.”

As part of the project, the AFC also works with Member Associations, local NGOs and government stakeholders to organise social responsibility seminars, which cover areas such as character building, child psychology, health awareness, gender equality and social inclusion.

The ultra-durable balls project is a key part of the five strategic social responsibility focus areas, as envisaged in the AFC’s Vision and Mission: children and youth, integrity and education, social inclusion, health and humanitarian relief.