Sunday 06 August 2023, 04:00

'King Pelé Football Field' inaugurated in Vanuatu

  • Gianni Infantino conducts ceremony to name local pitch in honour of late Brazilian legend

  • To this day, Pelé remains the only player to have won the FIFA World Cup™ three times

  • Vanuatu joins growing number of member associations to take up FIFA President’s suggestion

Gianni Infantino has visited Vanuatu and unveiled a pitch in honour of Pelé to make the Pacific Island nation the first in the region to follow up on the FIFA President’s suggestion to honour the late Brazilian legend. Following the death of Pelé on 29 December 2022, President Infantino suggested that each of FIFA’s 211 member associations to mark the passing of the only three-time FIFA World Cup™ winner by naming a stadium or football venue on their territory after him. Vanuatu – an archipelago of 83 islands – has now joined the growing number of countries to have followed the example set when the pitch at FIFA headquarters was named the ‘Estádio Pelé – FIFA Zürich’ on 3 January 2023.

“We have here today some fantastic legends. It is an honour to have them here with us and it is as well an honour to unveil this plaque, showing the name of this pitch here in Vanuatu,” said Mr. Infantino, who was accompanied at the newly baptised ‘King Pelé Football Field’ by FIFA Senior Football Advisor Youri Djorkaeff, and FIFA Legends Juan Pablo Sorin, Christian Karembeu, Houssine Kharja, Tim Cahill, Roque Junior, Maia Jackman, and Carmelina Moscato as well as FIFA Vice-President and Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and Vanuatu Football Federation (VFF) President Lambert Maltock and FIFA Deputy Secretary General – Football, Mattias Grafström.

“Now we join Pelé with Vanuatu for magic that only football can bring,” the FIFA President added. “And I wish you that many Pelés, girls and boys, will come out of this field and make your country shine, like Pelé made Brazil and football shine all over the world.”