F4P was the brainchild of Geoffrey Whitefield (M.B.E), a retired Baptist minister who has wide experience of working in the Middle East, and David Bedford, former 10,000 metres world record holder and currently Race Director of the London Marathon. They had the vision and the drive, but lacked access to the technical expertise required for the successful execution of sport-based community relations programmes. The University of Brighton, with its large sports department (Chelsea School), track record in the education and training of sports teachers, coaches and leaders, and global reputation in researching sport and society, was brought on board as a partner in 2000.


The first formal phase of the project was in 2001 when, operating under the label of WSP (World Sport Peace Project), six volunteer coaches from the University of Brighton and one staff leader conducted a week-long coaching camp in the Arab town of Ibillin for approximately 100 Muslim Arab and Christian Arab children (10-14 years old). The original plan had been to partner Ibillin with a nearby Jewish community, but in the wake of a bus bombing in the neighbourhood, the ensuing security situation caused the Jewish community to withdraw their children from the project at the eleventh hour.

The 2001 project went ahead nonetheless, helping coaches and leaders understand that community divisions in the region were not confined to Arabs and Jews. It also demonstrated from a logistical point of view - fund raising, planning, travel, provision of equipment, and program execution - that a project such as this could be carried out successfully. The project has now doubled in size year on year.