By THE NATION
The initiative, dubbed King Power Thai Power, was announced yesterday by chief executive Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha.
Aiyawatt said the company had set “a concrete CSR plan” due to its belief in the potential of Thai people to become competitive at a global level, while recognising that they have been held back by a lack of support.
The King Power Thai Power initiative has four pillars: Sport Power, Music Power, Community Power and Health Power, with an estimated investment of more than Bt2 billion over five years.
Aiyawatt said that the company is focusing on Sport Power as its first priority, “to create a roadmap for the promotion and development of young footballers throughout the country”.
“It is aimed at supporting strong and healthy Thai youngsters in playing sport as they develop from beginners to become professional athletes playing in global matches,” Aiyawatt said.
As part of the Sport Power project, King Power would spend more than Bt200 million to construct international-standard artificial turf fields at schools and communities nationwide, enabling youth to have places to exercise and make the most of their free time.
In 2017, the company aims to contribute these fields to 20 schools and reach its target of 100 schools by 2022. Moreover, the company will contribute one million soccer balls, enabling the youngsters to better practise their football skills.
In addition, King Power plans to establish the Leicester City Academy in Bang Bo late this month, selecting 30-40 teens aged between 14 and 17 to study there.
Aiyawatt noted that the company’s takeover of the Belgian football club OH Leuven “would help complete the loop of football youth programme”.
“The company organises various activities that support the youth in pursuing their dreams of becoming world professional football players,” Aiyawatt said.
“These include the Fox Hunt, Leicester City Football Clinic, King Power’s Cup, the dreams of Nong Phi to become a professional footballer, and the HERO Academy Football Charity for children in five southern provinces.”
Fox Hunt offers scholarships for youngsters to practise their football skills with Leicester City for two-and-a-half years at a cost of Bt15 million per person. So far, 16 teenagers have completed the training. Four of them have been selected to play at OH Leuven FC, while others have signed contracts with the local football clubs.
“The company is working to increase opportunities of the Thai people to become professional football players on the global stage,” Aiyawatt said.
“As the owner of Leicester City Football Club in England, familiarly known as the Foxes, and the Belgian football club OH Leuven, the company has a project for the promotion of capable footballers to play in European leagues,” Aiyawatt said.
For the Music Power project, King Power plans to host an international symphony orchestra performance competition, affording young performers an opportunity to become world-class professional musicians. The Community Power element is aimed at promoting One Tambon, One Product schemes and community enterprises. “While, infant incubators will be contributed to various hospitals through the Health Power project,” Aiyawatt said.