OXFORD United have signed former Pakistan international Kash Siddiqi in an unusual move which will see him take on an ambassadorial role.

The 33-year-old full back’s career has been affected by injuries, but he has become a prominent figure through charity work based around football.

He co-founded Football for Peace, an organisation aimed at using the sport to bring communities together.

Siddiqi will train at United, initially with the under 23 squad, to get fit before a planned loan move to a club in India.

He said: “I’m a big believer that football can do amazing things.

“It touches 3.5 billion people and my plan now is to utilise that on my journey as a footballer to raise awareness and do great work by bringing communities together.

“I’m going to be doing a lot of ambassadorial work and looking at how we can engage with the community in Oxford.

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“I’ve got a great team in the UK that will be working in the background looking at putting a really solid sustainable programme together and really develop something over the next year.”

Prince William is among the dignitaries who have supported Football for Peace, while Siddiqi’s work has also seen him meet a host of other influential figures, including the Pope.

The connection with United came about via former coach Shaun Derry, with whom he had worked on another charitable programme.

While it is hoped the city of Oxford’s global reputation will help open doors when he gets to India, the U’s should benefit from the exposure in south Asia – something owner Sumrith ‘Tiger’ Thanakarnjanasuth has been keen to pursue.

Siddiqi said: “I think maybe in some countries people wouldn’t know Championship clubs or even some Premier League clubs, but Oxford has such a strong heritage.

“That’s a real plus-factor. That was one of the key reasons I chose Oxford.”

He added: “It’s a great partnership for Oxford United as well to be involved with a club in India.

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“The club I’m going to is one of the most followed clubs in Asia right now.

“Apart from being a goodwill story it’s a great tap into the Asian market, which is growing prolifically.”

U’s director Zaki Nuseibeh told the club’s website: “Neutrality and dialogue are the two key messages and we are pleased to be working with Kash in joining the club and are keen to see how we can bring Football for Peace and the Kash Siddiqi Foundation to Oxford.

"At the same time racism has unfortunately been in the headlines recently.

"We will not tolerate discrimination of any kind and Kash’s experience and enthusiasm will be of enormous benefit as we continue to work with the relevant groups to ensure that Oxford United is a leading player in making football open to all.”