Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2016

Statement on Funding for the Rohingya Football Club

We are very pleased to announce that The Kick Project has received a $AUD16,500 donation from the Australian Government to fund a pilot soccer program with Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. The funds, coming through the Australian High Commission in Malaysia, will allow the charity to support the Rohingya Football Club which has become a vital part of the exiled Rohingya community in Kuala Lumpur. The program entails kitting out the team, providing transport to games and establishing a sports and community hub where Rohingya people can access sporting equipment and coaching. Young people, and girls in particular, are the long term focus of the initiative. The Kick Project founder James Rose says the Rohingya are in dire need of assistance. "The UN has called the Rohingya arguably the most persecuted group in the world. They've been forced to flee their homelands in Myanmar, where they have been made stateless by government decree, and many have lost their lives as a result." As r…

FIFA Spat in Palestine May Present an Opportunity

Our latest article, run on the Sport and Development website, on the peace potential in the dispute between Israeli settlers and the Palestinian Football Association.

"It's disappointing FIFA has so far chosen not to lead on the issue of Israeli settlement teams playing in Palestinian West Bank. This is a real opportunity for the beleaguered overseer to take a stance, especially as it appears doing so would simply be by enforcing its own rules..."(more)....

How We'll Be Watching The Games (Pt II)

This year's Olympic Games covers thousands of hours of action over two weeks. It's impossible to see it all and such massive variety and the sheer breadth of content is often lost via the traditional single-channel-per-country viewing options.

This model has tended to produce either a one-eyed coverage which focusses on the country for which the broadcaster holds the media rights (in cases where the country is deemed worthy of paying enough for dedicated coverage) or some generic hold-all (in countries too poor or unimportant to be able to buy dedicated rights) that generally fails to capture much of the magic.

The Olympics, theoretically intended to bring the world closer together, often tends to emphasise the borders and the differences.

Rio 2016 may be different. This time around, digital options are challenging the traditional TV broadcast lock-up. Numerous online channels and platforms are lining up to provide a blanket coverage of everything, not just the usual national…

How We'll Be Watching The Games (Pt I )

As the Rio 2016 Olympics get closer - only 2 more sleeps!! - we at The Kick Project, like most, will be watching for all those great moments and stories.

We hope that, despite all the apparent pre-Opening Ceremony dramas (just like every other Games in the last 20 years), the Games will provide the sense of connectivity and shared celebration it can deliver.

While we are sports fans like anyone and we'll be watching the athletes do their thing, we are always paying attention to the human rights issues surrounding such major sporting events as this .

But, there's two special aspects to this year's Games that make our viewing experience even more focussed.

Both aspects refer to unique, first time ever, factors in the Games and how they are shaped. Here the first (the next will follow in another post soon)

The Refugee Olympic Team

We, not surprisingly, were very happy to see the IOC open up to allow refugee athletes to compete at these Games under the Olympic flag. While the…

One for all the underdogs LCFC

Sport, as they say, is the great leveller. Nothing else quite matches it to inspire, to lift, and to take us out of ourselves. In England today, perhaps the greatest sporting long-shot in living memory reached its spectacular conclusion. The path of bolters Leicester City to win  the English Premier League title is the stuff of legend, the kind of story parents yearn to tell their children. Is this something that can define a far larger moment?
Leicester have already become everyone's favourite second team. Even some Spurs fans have a soft spot for the former battlers from the Midlands.
as the usual big-money suspects - Manchester United and City, Chelsea, Arsenal - dropped out of contention as the season has progressed, Leicester kept ;ighting up stadiums across the country with an exhilarating combination of speed and directness.
As a result, we have all become Leicester City now.
The team itself is mostly made up of also rans and never weres. Few had heard of many of them before th…

Rohingya Football Club

We have launched our Pozible crowd fund campaign for the Rohingya Football Club initiative in KL, Malaysia.

The program is our pilot international program so please consider making a donation to help us get off the ground globally.

There are some great rewards, such as shirt sponsorships, available for donors.

Full details are on the link provided above.


Sport and Peace: Perfect Companions

Our founder James ran an article in today's Huffington Post, on the occasion of Anzac Day here in Australia.

"The power of sport to provide a form of sustenance in times of deadly peril is recognised globally, not just by Australians. In fact, sport has proven to be not only a means of maintaining war, but of aiding peace. In conflict zones across the world, sport has been a presence as a vehicle to co-operate, work together, build bridges and to get along."

You can read the full article here.

Our Real Madrid clinics for troubled kids

Click here if the link video above doesn't roll

On Friday, April 8 we were involved in bringing coaches from Real Madrid to the Sunshine Coast, here in Australia, to coach some kids from troubled backgrounds. For free.

It was a great gesture from the Real Madrid Foundation Clinics Australia group, who were already running some fee-based youth coaching clinics in the country.

Some 60 boys and girls from around 7 up to about 16, were bussed up from Brisbane. Most of these were invited by Welcome to Australia, a local NGO working on settling refugees in Australia. A smaller number came from Harmony Place, a not for profit which assists refugee families dealing with trauma and mental health issues.

We also invited some "local" players to come along and join in the afternoon friendlies, which we arranged for the afternoon, after the Real Madrid sessions in the morning.

For us, it was a chance to test our wings and to see how we fly as an organisation. From our point of view w…

Vale Johan

The 1974 World Cup was the first one I ever saw. By virtue of it being the first one Australia had qualified for, it was beamed live to our shores. I can't remember if I watched any of it live, as it would have been at odd hours here and I was just a kid, but I do remember watching the Socceroos eking out a credible 2-0 loss to East Germany in the rain – Ray Richards skidding across the puddles in what seemed like a 20 yard slide tackle – and I do recall the final. And Cruyff.
We lost the great Dutchman last week and it was a sad moment for me, as it must have been for many. In that final, Cruyff with his two-striped kit – he famously refused to wear the tri-stripe Adidas kit – the magical number 14 and the the arrogant, cool of one of the greats in his prime was the undoubted star in the firmament.
I didn't know much about football then, but I was Holland all the way. Why? I reckon it was the pop star swagger of the likes of Rep, Neeskens, Haan, Krol, Rijsbergen, Rensenb…

So, what do we think about Gianni Infantino?

We watched the FIFA Extraordinary Congress on Friday night our time. We saw the speeches. We watched the votes being cast in those odd little tents. We watched the glad handing. We sensed the deals. As Australians we had our own small role, as our own David Gallop from the FFA acted as a scrutineer, shuffling bits of green ballot paper like playing cards.

We were surprised by the results (only 4 votes for Prince Ali bin Al Hussein?..None for Champagne?.....). But, did we like what we saw, what we heard? Simple answer: Yes and No. Not really so simple.

First, the positives. The fact that FIFA has been forced to look into itself and to accept the verdict of the people on the disastrous impact of the Havelange-Blatter era has to be good. The solid vote in favour of the reform process is a favourable result.

The very reason for the meeting is the resignation of Sepp Blatter after he was elected with the usual insult to democratic process. His step down is a victory for the game.

The palp…

Kicking Goals: Gogol Mebrahtu and Alusine Fofanah

Here at The Kick Project, we see it as part of our brief to inspire, to show how sport for peace and development can really make a positive difference. While we feel it's important to do our work and to get results, it's also of value to encourage others to do the same, and to help others understand the passion we feel for what we do.

As part of this process, we are keen to let our supporters know just how valuable a tool sport, especially football, can be in healing individuals, communities and whole nations.

These stories give us all real-life confirmation that sport for peace and development really does work.

And, acting as agents for change in this way is one of our motivations to maintain our commitment to what we do.

To fulfill this aim, we will be rolling out a series of short videos of noted athletes, from the world of football and from other sports, for whom sport has provided a means to them get through desperate times.

Thanks to the assistance of the Western Sydney…

Great Moments in Sports Diplomacy #1: Reaching Across the Net...

These days China-US relations are generally better - South China Sea disputes notwithstanding - than they were in the early 1970's. Then Mao's influence tended to negate friendships with the capitalist superpower, while Nixon's reign in the US was still cowering under the pressure from the omnipotent anti-Red lobby, led by Senator Joe McCarthy.

That relations are relatively benign between the world's two undisputed super-powers has various forces to thank, trade and geo-politics in particular.

But, what occurred in 1971 during a table tennis tournament in Japan was generally considered the first sign of a thaw between the two behemoths. And, it had little to do with political wrangling and more to do with two mutually respectful athletes knocking down the largely artificial barriers that had been placed between them.

It is generally considered that Glenn Cowan, a champion US table tennis player, had missed his team bus after a late training session during the World Ch…

Question Marks Over New FIFA Reforms

We just received an update from FIFA on how the football body proposes to regain credibility after what it says were "the difficult challenges of the past year."

As the linked video above shows, the body aims to delineate its reforms into four areas: Governance, Transparency, Accountability and Diversity. It also seeks to overhaul the structure at the heart of the organisation.

Part of this is the use of "fully independent" processes in areas like remuneration and eligibility for the new 36-member Council.

On first glance, it's a PR response to a cultural problem.

They are using all the right terms and buzzwords, but how these noble goals will be actualised seems to remain a grey area.

For us, two areas stand out.

Firstly, there is an avowed commitment to honour human rights in all areas, including programs and funding, sponsorship and commercial deals.

This appears promising. But this is unlikely to go beyond national laws in various jurisdictions and so, wil…

How Sport for Development and Peace Works (Pt. V)

Final in our five-part series on how sport for development and peace works.


The regenerative power of having fun, particularly for younger members of a community, should not be underestimated. In situations where children are forced to witness the cruelest, most unjust, violent or depraved manifestations of human behaviour many experience alarmingly, if understandable, high levels of stress and mental health disorders.

Being able to release the tension and to revert to being children again may be all a given child needs to begin to find his/her way back to a normal life.

Moreover, introducing children and youths to the fun aspects of life, such a sport, in a well-structured context, can head-off generational attachments to dispute and possibly war. Children who are exposed to children from groups and communities with whom their parents may be, or have been, or may yet be, at war can lift the level of relationships to a more productive place, where talking and n…

How Sport for Development and Peace Works (Pt. IV)

Part IV of our series on how sport for development and peace works/


In many societies sports clubs are used as central points for the community. Not only can they be the site of actual sporting activity, which in itself brings the community together, the location is often seen as a proxy space for both formal and informal community gatherings.

Sport, therefore, can act as a kind of motivator, a centripetal force for disconnected communities, which brings individuals together to share a common, fun, interest.

This may engender a sense of motivation or even pride among disadvantaged communities.

In practice, this means that sports clubs can be readily utilised to act as spaces for both curriculum and community education (such as physical and mental health care) or as meeting spaces for competing groups.

The actual practice of sport can act to lighten moods and expend energy which might otherwise be used to fight or to foment disputes. The sh…

How Sport for Development and Peace Works (Pt III)

Part III of our series on how sports for development and peace works.


It is one of the characteristics of war and many forms of violence that there is an absence of normal, commonly accepted rules.

Sport offers an alternative to this.

Being in a contained area which, while contested, is nevertheless bound by rules and conventions, and is adjudicated by a recognised and impartial referee goes some way towards ensuring that those used to, or who are seeking, a world without norms and without rules can be countered, both conceptually and literally.

The similarities football, and some other sports, share with peace talks and other forms of dispute resolution are manifest.

At another level, playing in a team with others with whom an individual might have been obliged to fight and or to hate, can provide ground on which mutual understanding and compassion can be gained.

The most basic rule of football is that hands cannot touch …

How Sport for Development and Peace Works (Pt II)

Part II in our five-part series on how sport for development and peace works.

In this short piece, we look at the inherent peace-building and peace-making characteristics of sport.


Football is our go-to sport. There's a few reasons for that. For instance, its the most international sport we know, it's easily understood, it can be played by anyone and it takes little equipment or set-up.

But another important reason we like to go with football is that it has certain characteristics that make it particularly useful as a peace tool.

Take the shape of the game. It flows and shifts, moving over the whole field in a series of fluid movements. There are no lines or obstacles on the field itself to stop movement and flow. Every part of the field is used and anyone can go to any part of the field at any time.

This shape ensures that the space is shared. Players go in and out of each other's physical space constantly. Players must learn to sha…

How Sport For Development and Peace Works (Pt 1)

Some of us from The Kick Project team were in a meeting with potential partners recently, when we were asked a question about “Proof of Concept” of sport for development and peace. The context of the question was that we were talking about sport for development and peace - especially football - but we weren't putting the pieces together. As she said, “It's all good. But I don't see how this works. How does sport and football generate peace and development? What's the proof of concept?”

It made us think: it can be easy when you're working away on your stuff to lose touch of your context. In this case, this person was someone who wrote grant applications. She wanted to know how she would sell our concept to attract funding. Completely fair enough.

So, we (hopefully) addressed her concerns at the time and took her concern on notice for next time we spoke. Debriefing afterwards, we realised there may be others out there who don't quite see the links between sport …

Wanda and Big Sport - A New Era for Asia

Welcome back and happy New Year to all our readers!

We aim this year to be a huge one for The Kick Project. As part of our stepping up, we will be filling the blog with more great content - both original and curated - over the coming months. Our topic line is the world of football and how it impacts in areas of peace, reconciliation, community development and social justice.

It's a big topic and there's plenty happening. And plenty to be said.

So please follow this blog, subscribe and interact. Your support is valuable.

We start the year with this piece our founder, James, has written for the ANZ Bluenotes news site. Bluenotes is a dedicated news site run by one of Australia's biggest banks, ANZ.

The article is on the movements of one of Asia's biggest property developers, Wanda Group, into the sports industry.

The implications of this for us here at The Kick Project are that a) Asia is becoming a focal point in the business of major sport promotion and that ever larg…