The Football Association of Thailand and King Power Group, the Thai travel retail company that owns English Premier League club Leicester City, have signed a memorandum of understanding that will underpin the construction of a new national football training centre.
King Power will pay for the construction of the centre, at a cost of 500 million baht ($16.5m/€14.8m). The King Power National Football Training Centre will be in the Muak Lek district of Saraburi province, on 240,000 square metres of land allocated by the Sports Authority of Thailand.
The MoU was signed by FAT president Ret. Pol. Gen. Somyot Poompunmuang and King Power’s chief executive Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, who is also the chairman of Leicester City. Somyot said: “King Power has the experience and technical know-how of the English model from managing Leicester City which can help us lay a good foundation for developing Thai football through this training centre.”
He added: “It is important to have a master plan, but it is equally important to have a centre to put that plan into action.
“I have always insisted on having short- and long-term plans to ensure sustainable development.”
Joint work under the MoU will include the FAT tapping Leicester City’s technical expertise on football-related science. Somyot said: “Football development isn’t only about laying a pitch for the players to train – we need to bring in sports and nutritional sciences as well.”
The training centre is one of the major projects under a 20-year national football development plan being led by Somyot. The centre will have different types of football facilities, including for futsal and beach football, and will also host national youth football championships. In addition, it will include a museum of Thailand’s football history and be a venue for FAT seminars and events.
The FAT is currently selling the domestic and international media rights for national team and club football for the 2021 to 2028 period. Early next year, the association will hold presidential elections, at which Somyot will seek re-election.