Zaatari and Azraq residents to benefit from two new artificial football pitches

The UEFA Foundation for Children, Lay’s and the Asian Football Development Project partner for a second year to build new football facilities for refugees.

Jordan, 17 September 2018: the UEFA Foundation for Children, Lay’s and the Asian Football Development Project (AFDP) have joined forces to turn unsafe play areas at two refugee camps in northern Jordan into artificial football pitches. A dedicated girls-only pitch will enhance Zaatari’s current football facilities, while a newly upgraded pitch will enable even more football-loving girls and boys in the Azraq camp to enjoy their favourite game.

Lay’s first teamed up with the UEFA Foundation for Children and the AFDP in September 2017 to build a full-size, permanent artificial pitch for Zaatari residents. Over the past 12 months, 35,000 children and adults have used the pitch, with 600 matches played in 20 tournaments and football training courses on offer all year round. Additionally, 40 men and 40 women have become certified football coaches.

Today, HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein will return to officially open the girls-only pitch in Zaatari, having inaugurated the first pitch in 2017. Azraq will also welcome special guests for an official opening ceremony, including UEFA Foundation for Children general secretary Urs Kluser and PepsiCo Middle East and North Africa (MENA) snacks director Mazen Al Masri, who will meet members of the community and local certified football coaches.

These new football pitches have been designed to help create an everyday environment where youngsters can enjoy recreational time and remain children even in wartime. The new girls-only facility in Zaatari meets a growing need to promote girls’ participation in sports activities at the camp, while supervised sports activities at both camps will help reduce tensions, encourage dialogue and improve conflict resolution and well-being.

- Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA president


When children enter these football pitches, they dare to dream big. They are football players, defenders, strikers, goalkeepers, referees and fans, having a good time while learning how to play in a team. In many, lasting ways, their lives will be transformed well beyond that last whistle blow.

- HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, AFDP founder and chairman


The Arab world is united in its love for football, and the Zaatari project enables young people to live out their passion and bond over the camaraderie the sport inspires. PepsiCo is proud to be part of this initiative with the AFDP and the UEFA Foundation for Children, in line with our Performance with Purpose strategy to do business in a way that benefits the communities we live and work in.

- PepsiCo’s MENA snacks director, Mazen Al Masri


Lay’s, a PepsiCo brand, has been an official partner of the UEFA Champions League since 2015. It has a long-standing relationship with football around the world, having developed several initiatives to promote the sport throughout the Arab world in addition to its UEFA Champions League partnership. Lay’s has also replaced areas of wasteland with football pitches in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as screening UEFA Champions League matches free in youth centres and other locations in both countries.

UEFA Foundation for Children–AFDP collaboration

Project partner


Since 2013, the AFDP and the UEFA Foundation for Children have been organising regular football training sessions and workshops at the camp for displaced persons in Syria, particularly for children, who are the most vulnerable victims of war. This long-term collaboration has given rise to many different projects that use sport, especially football, as a platform for social development. Football continues to play a pivotal role in helping refugees respond to the challenges of their displacement and the impact the conflict has had on their lives, by giving them a fun, healthy team-work based outlet, in which they can build friendships and regain a sense of normality and hope. Additionally, the UEFA Foundation for Children–AFDP collaboration has trained 287 refugees, 190 men and 97 women, to become coaches for over 6,800 Syrian youngsters, 4,150 boys and 2,650 girls. The coaches, in turn, have launched their own football league at the camp and hope to establish a football club in the near future.

About PepsiCo

Project Partner


PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $63 billion in net revenue in 2017, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – the fundamental belief that the company’s success is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world around us. It believes that continuously improving the products it sells, operating responsibly to protect our planet and empowering people around the world enables PepsiCo to run a successful global company that creates long-term value for society and its shareholders. For more information, visit