Southeast Asia Thailand

PSSI Sets August 20th as Liga 1 Kick-Off Date as Thai League 1 Release 2021/22 Schedule

Both the Liga 1 Indonesia and the Thai League 1 released updates for their upcoming season on Tuesday, as the two leagues continue their preparation amidst a period of uncertainty brought on by pandemic-enforced delays.

The Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) announced on Tuesday that they are targeting August 20th as the kick-off date for the 2021/22 Liga 1 Indonesia season. The league was initially set to start on July 9th however it was delayed following an increase of COVID-19 cases within Indonesia brought on by the Delta variant, which prompted the government to establish a movement restriction order throughout the islands of Java and Bali.

The PSSI’s decision was made after much consultation with the Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sport Zainudin Amali as well as the Indonesian Police. Further supporting the PSSI’s decision was the decrease of COVID-19 cases in Java and Bali that was brought on by the movement restriction order.

“We have considered a number of factors when deciding when the 2021/22 Liga 1 Indonesia season will start. Based on our observations, it is possible to start the league this August 20th,” said PSSI secretary general Yunus Nusi, “We will have a meeting with all clubs within the league to discuss about this in more depth. The league will be held without any spectators, of course.”

Despite the PSSI setting August 20th as the starting date of the 2021/22 Liga 1 season, league operators PT Liga Indonesia Baru decided to play coy about this, stating that August 20th isn’t a fixed date for the new Liga 1 season to start.

“If it’s up to us, we’re all set and ready to start the new league season,” said PT LIB general director Akhmad Hadian Lukita as quoted from Antara and Goal Indonesia, “But in the end the final decision will be at the hands of the clubs. If they need more time to prepare, we’ll give them that.”

Isan, Bangkok derbies to headline 2021/22 Thai League 1 opener

Meanwhile in Thailand, the Thai League 1 has released the schedule for the 2021/22 season, which will start around September 3rd to September 5th. Like the Liga 1 Indonesia, the Thai League 1 also faced a postponement in starting their new season due to an increase of COVID cases within Thailand.

Defending champions BG Pathum United will start their title defense away at Chonburi FC, while there will be two derby matches to start off the new Thai top flight season, with a Bangkok Derby between Port FC and Police Tero and and an Isan Derby between Nakhon Ratchasima Mazda and newly promoted Nongbua Pitchaya.

Title favorites Buriram United start their season at home against Suphanburi FC, while ambitious Chiangmai United, newly promoted from the second tier, face a tough challenge at home in the form of True Bangkok United. Fellow promoted side Khonkaen United travel away to Ratchaburi Mitr Phol for their first ever top flight match, while Muangthong United travel to sunny Prachuap Khiri Khan Province to take on PT Prachuap there.

Last but not least, Singha Chiangrai United will start their season away at Samut Prakan City FC.

The first Tharua-Muangthong Derby between Port and Muangthong will be played in the 5th matchweek, while the first Thai Super Match between Buriram and Muangthong will commence in Matchweek 10. The first Thai Clasico of the season, between Muangthong and Chonburi, will be played in Matchweek 2.

For the first time since 2017, the northeastern region of Isan will have four representatives in the Thai top flight in Buriram, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nongbua, and Khonkaen United. Both Port and Police Tero will represent the city of Bangkok in the league, while the metropolis’ periphery region are well-represented by BGPU, Bangkok United (Pathum Thani Province), Samut Prakan City (Samut Prakan City), and Muangthong (Nonthaburi Province).

The northern region of Thailand will have Chiangmai United joining Chiangrai as its representatives, while following the relegations of Rayong FC and Trat FC last season, Chonburi became Eastern Thailand’s sole top flight representative. Western Thailand will be represented by both Prachuap and Ratchaburi, while Suphanburi are Central Thailand’s sole representative from outside the Bangkok Metropolitan Region in the top flight this season.