Pelé, the king of Brazilian football, has in partnership with energy-giant Shell opened the world’s first player-powered community football pitch in the centre of Rio Di Janeiro’s favela – to help nurture the next generation of football stars.
The football park was designed to be powered by the movement of players, with the implementation of kinetic energy-absorbing underground tiles. Also using solar panels, the pitch will be lit at night to keep young footballers safe.
The renewable energy football pitch was built by creative agency JWT London, which claimed that as the project commenced, a group of children ran and asked: “Are you the ones going to fix our pitch?”
The facility, part of Shell’s #makethefuture programme, was created to inspire young people and entrepreneurs to use science and engineering to develop energy solutions for the future of the planet.
Pelé, who attended the opening, said: “Football is Brazil’s biggest passion and the sport has gone through so much technological innovation since the last time I played. This new pitch shows the extraordinary things possible when science and sport come together.
“The Morro da Mineira community will now be able to use this sports facility as a safe gathering place – all thanks to the floodlights powered by the community’s football players.”
André Araujo, country chair of Shell Brazil, said: “By 2050, the world will be using 75 per cent more energy than it does now. Meeting that extra demand will require a set of energy sources – and a new generation of scientists and engineers with the passion, ideas and innovation to develop it.
“The pitch proves the potential and power when scientists and entrepreneurs focus their efforts to develop creative and innovative energy solutions. By tapping into the world’s passion and interest in football, we aim to capture the attention of youngsters around the world so they think differently about energy and the opportunity of science studies and careers.”
As Shell helps improve Brazilian communities, in the UK, Greenpeace children earlier this summer protested Lego’s partnership with the energy-giant due to its effect on the environment in the Arctic.