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Chengdu: The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) commitment to leverage the power of football for social development was further underlined this week as more than 70 school teachers, football coaches and community leaders gathered for a social responsibility seminar in Chengdu, China.

Jointly organised by the Chengdu Football Association, the Chinese Football Association and the AFC’s Dream Asia Foundation, former Chinese internationals Zou Yougen, Wei Qun and Yao Xiao were among the main draws of the two-day seminar, lending their experience to highlight ways to use football as a platform to empower and bring joy to the lives of disabled children.

Participants were also presented with an opportunity to better understand the methods to integrate elements of social responsibility into football coaching for children.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “With the AFC’s Vision and Mission, we have set clear aspirations to undertake effective social responsibility campaigns. The AFC Dream Asia Foundation is delighted to play a role in ensuring that football continues to enrich and enhance the lives of the underprivileged and those in need.

“I would like to thank the Chinese Football Association for their spirit of partnership and for sharing the AFC’s ambitions to leave a lasting legacy on Asia’s future generation through football.”

Expressing his appreciation to the AFC on the impact of the seminar, a primary school teacher, Zhang Jian said: “It has been an eye-opening seminar for us because we now realise our role goes beyond being a coach, we have a duty as educators to build individuals of character. Now we have a better understanding and will include social responsibility elements in our coaching programmes for the children in the future.”

The seminar, which has been designed in alignment with the AFC’s Vision and Mission – children being one of the five pillars of social responsibility – will continue today with more than 100 children from the SOS Children’s Chengdu Village as well as single mothers and teachers benefiting from a character and team building through football clinic.

The seminar is the first of two scheduled to take place in China this year, with the second edition set to expand to Guangzhou in November.