Sunday 19 May 2024, 06:00

FIFA President inaugurates new FIFA Forward-funded Football Association of Thailand headquarters in Bangkok

  • Gianni Infantino officially opens House of Thai Football in Bangkok

  • FIFA Forward Development Programme provided over USD 2.4 million to construct new Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and Thai League headquarters

  • FIFA President says facility will help ensure “the champions of tomorrow will come from Thailand”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has opened the Football Association of Thailand's (FAT) new headquarters, marking the official completion of an ambitious construction project that was fully funded by the FIFA Forward Development Programme.

Situated in the Hua Mark district of the Thai capital, Bangkok, the 2,500 square-metre site came into being thanks to USD 2.44 million supplied by the second phase of FIFA Forward, and now serves as the central hub for over 200 FAT and Thai League employees.

“FIFA is Thailand, and Thailand is FIFA. We are here, together. We are here to be on the same team. We are here to win competitions together,” said the FIFA President, who had seen the project’s progress for himself on a visit in mid-January 2023. “We’re here to work together, we’re here to develop football together, to work with referees, to work with the administrations, to work for the champions of tomorrow. And I’m sure the champions of tomorrow will come from Thailand.”

Mr Infantino, who was in Bangkok to attend the 74th FIFA Congress, was accompanied at the ceremony by FIFA Secretary General Mattias Grafström, FIFA’s Chief Member Associations Officer Kenny Jean-Marie, FIFA Director Member Associations Asia and Oceania Sanjeevan Balasingam, as well as representatives from FIFA’s Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Regional Development Office and FIFA Legends. His Excellency Sermsak Pongpanit, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, Dr. Gongsak Yodmanee, Governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand, FAT President Nualphan Lamsam (Madame Pang), FAT General Secretary Patit Suphaphongs and FAT Executive Committee members were also in attendance. Also known as the House of Thai Football (HOTF), the facility also serves Thailand’s women’s and men’s national futsal teams, who can make use of its new full-size court. It was the team base camp for the men’s national futsal team during the recent AFC Futsal Asian Cup Thailand 2024 during which they clinched their place at this year’s FIFA Futsal World Cup™, qualifying for the global tournament for the seventh successive time.

The futsal court is also used for other events, notably the FAT Congress 2024 in early February at which President Lamsam was elected the first female president of an Asian member association, as well as staging Thai League and FAT workshops and seminars. The general public can also rent the court to play on it themselves, thereby providing the FAT with a source of revenue.

All Video Assistant Referee (VAR) activities have also been centralised in a dedicated workspace at the HOTF, and a Virtual Production Room, which includes a ‘green screen’ backdrop, enables a number of events, such as tournament draws, football podcasts and TV talk shows, to be broadcast from there.