One of Ari Vatanen's vice-presidential candidates has championed sport as being 'the glue which binds communities together' – as the duel for the most powerful and influential post in international motor racing reaches fever pitch this week ahead of Friday's election.
HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, President of the Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC) and Chairman of Jordan Motorsport – and the man who would become Vice-President Sport (Middle East) under a Vatanen presidency – delivered the message at a key sporting conference for the Global Sports Industry Congress in London.
The talk marked Al Hussein's second high-profile appearance this month, following a well-received speech at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Congress in Copenhagen – and underlined his core beliefs that there should be unity and fair representation across the motoring world, and that sport can play a pivotal role in bringing people together.
“In many parts of the world, communities are divided within themselves and from each other,” the 46-year-old explained. “In good times and bad, sport is the glue which binds communities together. Sport provides a sense of identity and social cohesion.
“As founder and chairman of the global initiative 'Generations for Peace', I believe passionately in the power of sport to unite people, to create a common sense of purpose values, to create community where none existed previously and to recreate community when old values have been under threat.
“Our objective at 'Generations for Peace' is to harness the power of sport in some of the world's most disadvantaged and divided communities. We aim to empower youth from conflicted communities, and use the power of sport to unite children and youth from across divides.
“In that way, we can play a role in achieving sustainable peace and social cohesion and to enhance the lives of today's youngsters and those of future generations – and we do so by enabling members of those communities to learn a range of teaching, coaching and technical skills which will allow them to teach others the lessons of leadership, respect and tolerance, empowerment, teamwork and responsibility.”
Vatanen will go up against controversial former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt in the ballot to determine which of the two men replaces longstanding present incumbent Max Mosley as FIA President in Paris, with the election campaign having been dogged throughout by accusations of favouritism and foul play.