Both the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and television provider TrueVisions have stood firm on their positions, with the television contract set to expire just one month after the league’s currently scheduled September restart.
The ongoing feud between television provider TrueVisions and the Thai FA has reached yet another impasse, as both sides refused to take on each other demands in an increasingly heated negotiation.
The issue stems from the fact that the FA’s contract with TrueVisions is set to expire this October, and they will likely be replaced by another broadcaster for the next calendar year.
However, the league’s delay due to COVID-19 has made this transition difficult, as the league will now run from September 2020 to May 2021, beyond the dates stipulated by the current contract.
For months, TrueVisions have been urging the Thai League to restart sooner and end within the calendar year, and have repeatedly refused offers by the FA to extend their contract until next May.
Meanwhile, the FA refuses to budge from their September restart date for a number of on-pitch concerns. Firstly, cutting preparation time short could see the FA face considerable backlash and could cause further problems as players are still unable to enter the country from abroad at this time.
Furthermore, aiming to finish the season within 2020 would force the league to schedule matches every three days, which could have disastrous consequences for player fitness and the quality of football.
Currently, it seems as though the league will go ahead as scheduled, with TrueVisions set to be replaced in late October, and the FA will await a new provider to take over from them for the remainder of the season.
This strategy comes with its own pitfalls, reducing the TV revenue paid by TrueVisions to the clubs and weakening the FA’s negotiating position when they work out a new deal with True’s successor to start in October.
Neither option seems particularly positive, and clubs will be hoping that the TrueVisions change their current stance and accept the contract extension. However, under the current circumstances, it seems like sticking to their guns may just be the best option available for the FA.