FIFA President Gianni Infantino, right, signed the deal with Dato' Lim Jock Hoi in Bangkok ©Getty Images

FIFA has signed a "comprehensive" memorandum of understanding with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The partnership will see football's world governing body join forces with the inter-Governmental group which encompasses 10 countries in the region.

Both parties are hoping to "leverage football as a catalyst for social development and healthy lifestyles".

FIFA President Gianni Infantino signed the agreement with ASEAN secretary general Dato' Lim Jock Hoi at the ASEAN summit in Thailand's capital Bangkok.

The leader of every ASEAN country witnessed the moment.

"It gives me great personal satisfaction to announce the signing of this strategic alliance with ASEAN," said Infantino.

"Since the beginning of my Presidency, I've had the chance to visit the region on many occasions and each time I was struck by the passion our sport generates among the people. 

"Through the collaboration we are launching, we want to build on this passion and use football as a vector of social development, integration and sporting values across the entire region.

"Over the last year, FIFA has engaged in collaborations with a number of key international institutions, such as the G20, the Council of Europe, the African Union, the French Development Agency and several UN agencies. 

Gianni Infantino holds a football alongside Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha ©Getty Images
Gianni Infantino holds a football alongside Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha ©Getty Images

"The agreement with ASEAN is testimony once again to FIFA's new credibility as a trustworthy partner on the international scene."

According to FIFA, the agreement will have strong emphasis on education and in particular the Football for Schools programme.

Women's football, child safeguarding and the fight against doping and match manipulation are other key areas.

"Football, and sport in general, is a strategic means for bringing people together, promoting greater people-to-people connectivity, and making ASEAN even stronger as one community," said Hoi.

"As mandated by all 10 ASEAN member states, it is my honour to announce ASEAN's partnership with FIFA, through the signing of this memorandum of understanding."

As well as Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam are members of ASEAN.

The countries have a combined population of more than 645 million people.