AFC Champions League finals highlight child malnutrition


This season’s AFC Champions League finals, the pinnacle of Asia’s club competitions, will see players of the two competing teams join forces to promote the fight against child malnutrition as a part the of the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) partnership with One Goal.

The players of Al Ahli (UAE) and Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN) will wear One Goal sleeve badges to show their support for the campaign at the most important matches of the season, with the final first leg in Dubai on November 7 and the second leg on November 21 in Guangzhou.

The social responsibility partnership between the AFC and One Goal aims to improve nutrition and further a healthy lifestyle amongst children in Asia, while also promoting the health benefits of participation in grassroots and youth football.

AFC Acting General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “The AFC believes that all children should have the right to play football. However, a basic requirement for this, and a fundamental human right, is adequate nutrition. The One Goal partnership addresses malnutrition through the power of football, reaching out to the 1.4 billion football fans in Asia. We are proud that the AFC’s flagship club competition, the AFC Champions League, is a platform to spread this message.”

The One Goal campaign brings together five organisations, operating across the continent: the Asian Football Confederation, World Vision, the Asian Football Development Project, DSM and GAIN.

Stefan Germann, Executive Director of One Goal, said: “Asia is home to more malnourished people than any other region on the planet, including 100 million children under five who suffer from stunting. Malnutrition is an issue with long-lasting consequences and can set back a child’s physical and mental development for a lifetime. Football can play an important role in the solution when fans and players come together in a movement that aims for every child in Asia to have good nutrition.”

In a One Goal report about fuelling Asia’s footballers for the future, it is found that chronic malnutrition is costing countries in Asia billions of dollars every year. With child obesity also on the rise, and if nutritional trends continue at the current rate, by 2022, the year of the FIFA World Cup, almost 70 million children in Asia will be stunted and 20 million overweight or obese.

The two teams having qualified to the 2015 AFC Champions League finals are Al Ahli from the United Arab Emirates and Guangzhou Evergrande from China. The first leg will be played in Dubai on Saturday, kicking off at 19.45 local time. The second leg will be hosted by Guangzhou Evergrande in China on Saturday November 21 with a 20.00 kick off local time.