The announcement about the withdrawal of travel expenses was made by President of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) Gen Somyot Poompanmoung last week.
During the announcement, Somyot said that the FAT is responsible for supporting three Thai leagues, with Premier clubs receiving B20 million per year, L1 teams B3 million per year and D2 teams B1 million per year.
Previously, the FAT also had a policy to allocate travel expenses to each team in L1 and D2 that they deemed “had far to travel” to play a game, with each team receiving B100,000 and B50,000 respectively for such games.
However, as from the start of the 2017 season, those travel expenses will no longer be paid to the clubs because of what Somyot says are FAT financial issues.
“The FAT is now facing financial issues because we have to pay backdated tax going into several hundred millions of baht. We have to reserve money to pay this debt,” Somyot said.
“Even though the FAT has already given the Revenue Department a cheque for more than B100mn, we still need to reserve money just in case that cheque bounces. If it does then we will have to face a lawsuit or pay a fine. I can not let this happened because it means our management has failed.
“In addition, the FAT is in debt of about B80 Million and we still need more money to pay more back tax. Therefore we need to have a fund that will help our financial situation,” he added.
Somyot then went on to say that if money is given to for L1 and D2 teams to cover their away game travel expenses then no money would be left to pay tax.
“So the FAT has now decided to stop paying travel expense for those two leagues. But the yearly support will stay the same,” he said.
“The FAT’s debt with the Revenue Department must be paid, we cannot avoid that, it is the law. If we don’t pay we will face bankruptcy or asset confiscation. I think fans of L1 and D2 clubs will understand our need for this financial adjustment,” he added.
“I have no choice but to pay our debt first. Please allow me to solve this issue. If I knew beforehand that the FAT was in such a position I wold never have offer to support each team. I hope everybody understands,” Somyot said.
Somyot also mentioned that the FAT has a Plan B up their sleeve with regards to sponsorship.
“We will look for more companies to sponsor the FAT. If we have enough sponsors and are able to pay off all of our debt the FATs financial situation will return to normal and L1 and D2 will get their travel expense again.
“I am not sure if anyone wants to file a lawsuit against us because of this, but all I can do is reaffirm that the FAT is in debt of more than B80mn and has more than B100mn to pay in back taxes. If anyone wants to go ahead with a lawsuit you can, but please let me know if you have some idea on how we are supposed to pay you if we are in debt,” he said.
“I believe I am doing the right thing, but if you think what I am doing is wrong or against the law then I cannot stop you from taking me to court.
“The faith of the FAT is now up to the fans to decide. They can see what the FAT’s management has been like since we took over.
“I would never have thought that I would be paying debts that others before me had created. I hope you all understand what I must do in my situation, but if you have any better ideas please let me know,” he added.