Football Tribe SEA Editor
Major news broke in the Thai League this week, as it was announced that the competition will be postponed until September and proceed to match a European Style schedule going forward.
Thai League Deputy CEO and licensing director Benjamin Tan talked up the potential move and noted the number of obstacles preventing the league from starting before September.
“Basically we made three key decisions,” he summarized of the Thai League’s major meeting earlier this week. “The first one is for the domestic league and cup competitions to be postponed until September at the earliest, but subject to necessary clearance from the relevant government authorities, including the health ministry, and keeping in mind that 4-6 weeks will be needed for the teams’ preparation before the matches can be played.”
Mr. Tan also claimed that the extension until May 2021 was necessary to avoid fixture congestion and fit with the three allocated FIFA Matchday windows in September, October, and November.
“The second decision was that the clubs agreed to a 50% salary reduction for employees until the end of August.”
“The last decision we made was to request FIFA for a possible additional registration window in the Thai League”
Mr. Tan also confirmed that the shift to a European schedule had been on the minds of senior officials at the Thai League for a while and that the current situation has “given us the opportunity to really think about this proposal again.”
According to him, benefits of the shift include avoiding the worst of the rainy season, matching the transfer window to the European season and advantages over other East Asian clubs in the qualifying rounds of the AFC Champions League.
Regardless, fans will be left waiting for football to resume for a number of months, and the league faces a challenge to return in a big way and get back on track after the extended break.