Football For Diplomacy Between Cambodia and Thailand
On Saturday, amongst the Premier League and La Liga, the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen hosted a ‘friendship football match’ between Thailand and Cambodia to help smooth over some of the recent tensions the nations have experienced. Before the match, the Cambodian Prime Minister said that “the nightmare” era between the nations, who engaged in deadly border clashes earlier this year, was over. “Today is a historic event in the relations between Cambodia and Thailand,” he said.
In July, the Hague-based International Court of Justice asked both nations to withdraw military personnel from around the Preah Vihear temple complex, which both nations have finally agreed to do.
Rather than using professional players, the cabinets and legislative branches of both teams mixed up and formed two teams, red and blue (the national colors of both countries are red, white and blue). The prime minister, wearing the #9, even played some of the second half, though he was taken off after he “scored” a goal. The response from the 50,000 strong crowd was tremendous, and with the match accumulating 17 goals (10-7) the power of football to produce peace was undeniable.