Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani helps build a new world for Afghan female soccer players

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani and Kim Kardashian are among a group of wealthy Muslim women who are lending their expertise to help 130 female Afghan soccer players leave the war-torn country to play on…

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani helps build a new world for Afghan female soccer players

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani and Kim Kardashian are among a group of wealthy Muslim women who are lending their expertise to help 130 female Afghan soccer players leave the war-torn country to play on a British soccer pitch. The Dubai-based Rashed Triodos Foundation, which is helping the players, have signed a five-year deal with the Football Association to run a course in Manchester for the women as well as provide training throughout the country.

Some of the players can speak English, but they have no education. The foundation is giving them a chance to get ahead in their lives, based on the principles of sports, education and peace. “Football is an essential part of a girl’s development. Girls who participate in sport in Afghanistan have a better opportunity of finishing school and finding the right job,” Petra Radrizzani, the foundation’s founder, told the BBC. “Having girls in sport will make them resilient and confident, so we hope to be able to send them to universities abroad and train and mentor them to become the next generation of leaders.”

Kardashian, who was recently engaged to NBA player Blake Griffin, is playing a part in raising awareness about the development project. “I’m incredibly proud of our partnership with the Rashed Triodos Foundation in Afghanistan,” she said. “[T]he players are an inspiration to many, and they are being given a platform to play a sport that can open so many doors.”

Last year, some 1,800 girls were playing on equal footing on a FIFA Development Programme for the first time in Afghanistan, despite decades of conflict. Playing soccer on a football pitch in Afghanistan can actually be dangerous because traditional customs of women’s modesty permit men to watch their performance. “We can’t say [men will] stop doing that and we can’t say ‘never hear of it,’ ” Laurent Degilliard, a spokesman for FIFA, told the BBC. “But these are the boundaries which [the players] have to respect and so far nothing has changed.” The soccer tournament ends on Saturday.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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