Behind kickoff: the mini economy of Phnom Penh’s football pitches

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Behind kickoff: the mini economy of Phnom Penh’s football pitches

On the site of Grass Decor’s project, a football field in an upcoming sports center in Kilometre 11, bricks, rods and stones left behind from a demolished building cover the area that will become a football field.

Sokun Seng, managing director of Grass Decor told Post Property that his business has seen a steady increase over the last year and a half.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sokun Seng, managing director of Grass Decor. Pha Lina

“Our main market is football fields,” said Sokun. “Since we build our football fields with artificial grass, we have a demand from international schools, pools, parks, hotels, apartments, etc. We have smaller projects, as well, but we like to focus on football fields.”

Behind the dozens of football fields that keep on popping up in Phnom Penh’s urban areas is a buzzing mini economy of landscaping companies that are trying to satisfy the growing demand for astro turf pitches.

According to the Grass Decor managing director, large football fields use artificial grass imported from China. For one square meter of artificial grass, buyers had to pay prices ranging from $18- $22, depending on the total order. A regular football field usually costs around $50,000.

He added that there are about five or six landscaping companies in Phnom Penh that focus on astro turf landscapes. Regardless of competition, however, there is enough demand for his company.

“It’s fine,” he said. “We can survive well in the market. Now, people have started investing in [sports-related] businesses. They can make profits off renting [the fields] to players during tournaments or from selling tickets and water and food,” Sokun said.

It doesn’t take much development to turn a piece of land into a sports business. The dirt mounds on Grass Decor’s project site in Kilometre 11 will be flattened and dried in the sun while a drainage system is being dug around the area so the ground can dry out evenly during rainy season.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Mounds of dirt dry in the sun to become the foundation for a football field. Pha Lina

Sokun said drying the field up was a major challenge in the creation of a football field.

“We need the sun to dry the dirt or the glue won’t dry,” he said. “That’s why it’s best to do these projects during dry season.”

After the demolition area has been cleared and the dirt is dried, the area is covered in crushed stone in order to stabilize and smooth it to a flat surface. The two last steps are covering the area with cement and gluing the patches of artificial grass, creating a brand new, ready to use football field.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding