Ho Chi Minh City, 23 May 2014 -- The Sports for Development Conference 2014, organised by the Asian Football Confederation and One Goal opened today at the Grand Hotel Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City.  Organised around the backdrop of the AFC Women's Asian Cup taking place in Vietnam, the conference will showcase international best practices and effective programme models for nutrition, gender and grassroots football for girls.

Delivering the  opening address, Dato’ Windsor John, Deputy General Secretary, Asian Football Confederation said, "Sports generally and football as the 'world game' more specifically has the power to unite and engage people and the potential to be a great catalyst for development.  Through this conference we hope to unlock this potential for Asia."

The keynote address was delivered by Dr Nguyen Cong Khan, Director General, Administration of Science Technology and Training, Ministry of Health, Vietnam.  He  said, "Sports is a powerful tool and facilitator that helps promote good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle among all age groups -through the learnings from this conference we hope to help children and families in Vietnam become healthier and happier."

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of Asian football and one of the six Confederations making up FIFA.  Created as a partnership between the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), World Vision, Royal DSM, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Asian Football Development Project (AFDP), the One Goal campaign seeks to leverage the power of football to fight malnutrition and obesity in Asia.

A One Goal partners' report titled "Improving Nutrition for Adolescent Girls in Asia and the Middle East:  Innovations are Needed" was also released as part of the opening session of the conference.  This report describes some of the underlying causes and the impact of adolescent nutrition on the long-term health and well-being of the girl and her future offspring. It provides a snapshot of some programmes and interventions in Asia that aim to address these issues as well as makes recommendation to improve them.

Stefan Germann, Executive Director One Goal, one of the speakers on the dais for the opening address said: "One Goal is a great example of a sport like football playing the role of a catalyst in bringing a critical development issue like child nutrition to the fore and finding innovative solutions to ensure nutrition for every child."

As part of its partnership with AFC and the One Goal campaign, the English Premier League awarded a GBP 15,000 grant to Football for All in Vietnam, a Vietnamese sports for development organisation and One Goal partner. 

"Eat, Play, Live Right" - an exhibition of photographs from around Asia  focussing on children, football and nutrition was also unveiled as part of the conference and will be available for viewing throughout the duration of the two-day conference.

For more information contact:

Chetan Kulkarni, AFC - +601 2338 5842:    Jayanth Vincent, One Goal - +91 9840064165

About the partners

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of Asian football and one of the six Confederations making up FIFA.  The AFC is now headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and consists of 46 Member Associations and one Associate Member Association. Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain is the AFC President and Dato’ Alex Soosay is the AFC General Secretary. (http://www.the-afc.com)

The Asian Football Development Project is a not-for-profit Youth Commission founded in January 2012. AFDP provides Asian football organisations and development organisations using football as a tool for social development with needs-based assistance. (http://www.the-afdp.com)

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition is an alliance driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition. Created in 2002 at a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Children, GAIN supports public-private partnerships to increase access to the missing nutrients in diets necessary for people, communities and economies to be stronger and healthier. (http://www.gainhealth.org)

Royal DSM is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. By connecting its unique competences in Life Sciences and Materials Sciences DSM is driving economic prosperity, environmental progress and social advances to create sustainable value for all stakeholders.(http://www.dsm.com)

World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.  World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. (http://www.wvi.org)