21 May 2024

a month ago

FIFA Congress 2024: Thailand's Triumph as Host of FIFA's Premier Off-Field Event

• A Historic Milestone, Thailand becomes the First Southeast Asian Nation

Thailand has successfully hosted the 74th FIFA Congress at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok. This marks Thailand as the first country in Southeast Asia and the fifth in Asia to be honored by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) with the opportunity to host FIFA's most significant off-field event.
The event was a resounding success, thanks to the dedicated efforts and support from the government, public and private sectors, and all involved parties. The exceptional hospitality provided to the more than 3,000 guests, including representatives from FIFA's 211 member associations, legendary footballers, and other distinguished attendees, left a lasting impression.
Thailand's organization and warm welcome received high praise from the FIFA President, the AFC President, and other football leaders. From their arrival to their departure, the guests experienced unparalleled care, significantly enhancing Thailand's international reputation.

• Working against time #MadamPang 'The Master of Multitasking

The FIFA Congress this time has achieved tremendous success, and it's crucial to express gratitude to both the government and private sectors for their full support, along with every Thai individual who has contributed as gracious hosts. However, it's essential to mention "Madam Pang," the newly elected president of the association, who has acted as the master coordinator. Following the recent election, Madam Pang and the new executive board immediately faced significant challenges and tasks, as they had only three months to prepare to host the prestigious global event. This doesn't even account for the numerous other responsibilities of the association.
Undoubtedly, Madam Pang has been racing against time continuously. Starting from accelerating coordination efforts, attending meetings with the Prime Minister, and coordinating with every department, to continuous updates and crucial coordination on visa matters and the arrival and departure of delegates from 211 countries, she received excellent support from all sectors, including the Thai government, the Sports Authority of Thailand, and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). FIFA praised this Congress in Thailand as one of the most beautiful meetings.
Moreover, Madam Pang served as an excellent host, welcoming the FIFA President, the AFC President, and the UEFA President personally upon their arrival in Thailand. As the first female president of the Asian Football Confederation, she was honored by FIFA to welcome the FIFA Council at their meeting, participate in the Leadership Forum: Executive Women in Football, and notably, deliver a welcome speech to the 211 member nations at the FIFA Congress. These actions demonstrate acceptance and admiration from all the top leaders who attended.

• Forwarding #SoftPower through art, culture, tourism, and Thai cuisine.

Thailand has demonstrated its potential in hosting global meetings and achieved great success. This was evident through the various cultural showcases, tourist destinations, and Thai cuisine presented at a reception organized by the Thai government on May 15, 2024, at the Government House. Every smile from the Thai people at every event added to the impression.
One of the significant highlights was when Madam Powder, Nuanpan Lumsum, the president of the Football Association of Thailand, showcased #SoftPower by presenting a handwoven silk fabric with a lotus pattern to Leena Al Ashqar, the spouse of Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president. Leena wore it during the FIFA Congress on May 17, 2023. The image was broadcasted worldwide, enhancing Thailand's reputation. Additionally, she wore it to the inauguration of the Football Association of Thailand's headquarters in the afternoon.
In the past, Thailand has only had the opportunity to host global events twice: the Futsal World Cup in 2012 and the Women's Futsal World Cup for players under 19 in 1999.

• Thailand's Triumph: #Brazil, First South American Nation, Wins Bid to Host 2027 Women's World Cup

FIFA Congress, the gathering of football's top leaders from around the globe, led by Gianni Infantino, FIFA President, along with executives from six continents including AFC, UEFA, CONMEBOL, CAF, CONCACAF, and OFC, along with leaders from 211 member nations and football legends, convened to elevate the sport and discuss various global issues. During this meeting, a vote was held to select the host country for the 2027 Women's World Cup, resulting in Brazil winning against the European bloc (BNG) consisting of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany with 119 votes to 78. This marks Brazil as the first South American nation to host the Women's World Cup.

Furthermore, significant developments took place in Thailand:
The FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2025-2029 will take place in Morocco, with allocated slots for each continent.
The FIFA U-17 World Cup 2025-2029 for youth will be hosted by Qatar, with slots allocated for each continent.
The FIFA Arab Cup proposed by the Qatar Football Association and Qatar will host in 2025, 2029, and 2033, following FIFA's principles for inviting representatives from each nation, not necessarily aligned with FIFA Days.

• World Football Legends Inspire Children and Youth Through Activities

Aside from hosting the FIFA Congress, Thailand has benefited greatly from various initiatives. Activities like FIFA For School have been organized to aid in the development of coaches and teachers in primary and secondary schools, passing on football knowledge to children and youth. Additionally, events like Football Legacy have seen Football Legends such as Luis Figo, Marcos Cafu, Sami Khedira,  Wesley Sneijder, Javier Zanetti, and Youri Djorkaeff playing football with young children, leaving behind a cultural legacy through the sport to inspire the next generation of athletes.
It's evident that football today is more than just a sport; it's a powerful tool. The economic value generated from the congress, with over 3,000 visitors, is substantial. Impressions made during these events increase the likelihood of visitors returning to Thailand for tourism or international cooperation, potentially leading to more significant tournaments being hosted in the country and fostering collaborative efforts for future development.

• What Thailand Stands to Gain After the FIFA Congress

The hosting of the FIFA Congress marks another significant milestone for the Football Association of Thailand as it strides into its 109th year under the leadership of Madam Pang, showcasing its off-field potential and successfully presenting itself to the global community.
In conclusion, the Football Association of Thailand extends its gratitude to all stakeholders who contributed to the success of the event, including the government led by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, the Sports Authority of Thailand, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, various public and private sector organizations, and the Thai people for collectively being excellent hosts. Special thanks are also given to FIFA for entrusting Thailand to host the 74th FIFA Congress and to the Asian Football Confederation for their full support.
It is hoped that everyone will take pride in this achievement and cherish the shared memories together.


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