Arsenal opens football field at Syrian refugee camp

Martin Keown (C), a former British soccer player for Arsenal, and Syrian refugee children throw balls into the air during the official opening of Save the Children's new soccer field at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, May 2, 2013. (Reuters)

Football giant Arsenal FC headed to Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp to inaugurate a football field in collaboration with the UK-based charity Save the children.

A former defender, Martin Keown, represented Arsenal on the two-day visit during he spent time with the children and received a firsthand experience of what it was like in a Syrian refugee camp, according to the official Arsenal website.

“It’s been a truly humbling experience coming out here and listening to some of the stories of hardship from children so young,” Keown was quoted as saying.

As Syrian’s residents continue to flee to save havens in countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, these minor events give them a chance at experiencing normality.

"Football is a platform for bringing people together, instilling discipline, team work and a sense of achievement and well-being which are vital ingredients for future success,” Keown said.

The Football club has reported that next week it would launch an appeal for Syria, which will take place at the Arsenal Foundation Ball.

The English premier league club said that it would use the money raised to provide the Syrian refugees with essential learning materials.

“Arsenal has been a generous supporter of Save the Children’s emergency appeals in the past and this visit once again shows the Club’s commitment to helping ensure that children caught up in emergencies are not forgotten,” Save the Children’s chief executive Justin Forsyth was quoted as saying by Arsenal’s website.

At least 70,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict so far, according to U.N. estimates. Thousands have crossed over the borders in neighboring countries with at least 120,000 in Jordan’s Zaatari camp alone.

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Last Update: Thursday, 02 May 2013 KSA 18:53 - GMT 15:53
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