Local football leagues in Thailand have been on hold, due to the pandemic, since March.
However, with the covid-19 situation settling in Thailand, football officials are eying the resumption of matches in September, adhering to strict health protocols.
The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) stated that all officials and players partaking in games should test negative for covid-19 no less than 72 hours before a match.
The FAT clarified that all football matches would be played without fans and spectators.
Covid-19 tests’ expenses will be shouldered by the football teams, which would be a substantial financial blowback to football clubs.
Testing of players and officials are mandated by FAT, regardless of the team’s football league tier.
Lower bracketed teams will be the ones who will experience the most considerable financial burden of the tests that would be conducted regularly.
According to FAT President Somyot Poompanmuang:
“To abide by the rules of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, all participants in each league match must undergo a test and have negative results at least 72 hours before a game.”
Poompanmuang iterated the Gold Card health universal program by the government as a way to mitigate the costs of the coronavirus tests.
The FAT official said:
“As a lot of money will be required for this process, I have been informed by the Ministry of Health that the Gold Card program covers covid-19 tests. This should ease the burden for football clubs.”
The FAT also assured various football clubs that the league’s main sponsor, Chang Company, has a specialized lab for testing. It will offer subsidized rates for players.
On the other hand, FAT official Somyot Poompanmuang also raised the concern that Tier 1 league matches may not be broadcast live as the football federation’s having corporate trouble with TrueVisions.
TrueVisions is the Tier 1 football match broadcaster of FAT.
The broadcasting company stipulated that they will only air live matches until October 25th, but expressed that they are willing to negotiate for a new contract to broadcast games until December 31st.
In a letter written by the company to FAT, TrueVisions demand that the league reduces its airing rights fee. The request was due to the previous agreement failing to yield the contracted games due to the decision of FAT to cut the number of teams – from 18 to 16 – and the onset of covid-19.
The FAT said that they’re negotiating with the broadcast company to air games until the end of the year.
Poompanmuang also warned the football clubs, stating:
“It will be up to the clubs to decide if they are willing to play as many as three matches in a week so that we are able to wrap up the league by the end of this year.
The lesser teams in the top league last season meant lesser TV coverage for TrueVisions so we are looking at a shortfall of 20 percent in TV revenues.
This means that there is bound to be a reduction in the subsidy that each club receives from the association.
Moreover, if we are unable to find a taker for the live telecasts for matches scheduled from January to May next year then he will have no income from the TV rights at all.”
The domestic football scene is predicted to suffer significantly due to financial constraints incurred by the coronavirus pandemic in Thailand.