GIVING CHILDREN BACK THEIR PLAY AREAS
Public playgrounds often become casualties of development in urban neighbourhoods. Johan Cruyff Foundation, established in 1997 as a result of Johan Cruyff’s aspiration to get children active and moving, seeks to give children back their play area through its ‘Cruyff Courts’ programme. The Cruyff Courts programme provides a unique football experience to disadvantaged children, youths and the larger community. Malaysia is the second Asian country to have Cruyff Courts after Japan. In total, there are currently 177 Cruyff Courts around the world and this number is fast growing. Cruyff Courts bring old playing fields that are lost to urbanisation back to the community to restore social unity. The courts serve both as playing fields, and as meeting places where themes such as mutual respect, health, integration, development and teamwork are nurtured. These themes are based on the 14 rules of Johan Cruyff, found in every Cruyff Court around the world.
In September 2013, Khazanah, in partnership with Johan Cruyff Foundation, launched Cruyff Court Kuala Lumpur (CCKL) in Brickfields, the second Cruyff Court in Malaysia to be launched after the opening of the maiden Cruyff Court in Kampung Melayu Majidee, Iskandar Malaysia in 2012. CCKL became a reality through the cooperation of local government, corporations in Brickfields, local schools, sport associations and local businesses. Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur contributed the physical site for CCKL, while CIMB Foundation supports programmes for special needs children. A week prior to the launch of CCKL, the Cruyff Foundation Community Programme kicked off with several activities at the facility, including coach training programmes.
Since CCKL’s launch in 2013, numerous activities have been organised. These include futsal tournaments for boys under-10 and under-12 training sessions for special needs children and a tournament for the blind to select players for the national team. CCKL is free to use and is open every day from 9 am to 7 pm, with priority given to schools, colleges, universities, football academies, and non-governmental organisations within the Brickfields and surrounding areas. It is also open to the general public daily from 7 pm to 10 pm.
The Foundation will continue to help communities attain healthy lifestyles through its programmes. Looking forward there are plans to build a third Cruyff Court in Malaysia, in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur.