Part of football’s global appeal is that all you need to play is a ball and some space. In certain areas of Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capital city, players have access to a ball but finding somewhere to play can be more difficult. To counteract this, “The Unusual Football Field” project is turning small and oddly shaped spaces into football pitches for the local community to enjoy – and they aren’t rectangular.
Like many other countries around the world, football is the most popular sport in Thailand. But in the Khlong Toei community, a highly populated area in Bangkok, it was widely believed that there was no usable space for football.
But real estate developer AP THAILAND had different ideas and turned what was waste land into playable football pitches. The company said that the goal was "to promote relationships among the people in the community" and to help change the lives of youngsters in the area.
It’s not the first time that the Thais have been more than a little creative when it comes to building football pitches. In 1986, while living in Koh Panyee - a small fishing village in the south of Thailand built almost entirely on stilts that has 1,485 inhabitants - a youngster called Prasit Hemmin and his friends created a floating football pitch after they were inspired by Argentina’s Diego Maradona and the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
Despite facing obvious and significant difficulties, Prasit and friends built their pitch with their own hands after ‘borrowing’ the necessary wood and resources from fellow islanders - who weren't too impressed with their plans initially. Over time, however, the pitch has evolved and become part of life on Koh Panyee and the island now has a team that is known all over the country.
Prasit's story is featured in FIFA World Football Museum in the Encounters section, where people from all over the world recount their own fascinating – and, as in this case, unusual – football tales. The hammer, several of the nails and a piece of wood from Prasit’s original pitch accompany the specially created video. Stop by to see the whole video!