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No change in T1 restart date

No change in T1 restart date

FOOTBALL: The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) won’t yield to TrueVisions’ demand and insists the season will resume in September as planned.

By Bangkok Post

Saturday 25 July 2020, 12:16PM

Football Association of Thailand president Somyot Poompunmuang. Photo: Bangkok Post

Football Association of Thailand president Somyot Poompunmuang. Photo: Bangkok Post

The decision was made after yesterday’s (July 24) talks between executives from both parties led by FAT president Somyot Poompunmuang and True Corporation chief media officer Ongard Prapakamol.

At the meeting, the company, the official broadcaster of domestic leagues, reiterated that it would only show live matches until Oct 25, the final day of the original 2020 Thai League 1 season.

The Thai League 1 campaign was suspended in March after four rounds of matches due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will restart on Sept 12 and end in May next year.

“True wants to show matches only until Oct 25,” Somyot said after yesterday’s meeting.

“We understand each other’s problems. True will have problems in terms of business, broadcasting and programming [if it shows games beyond that date].”

He said it was impossible to finish the season on Oct 25 with 26 rounds of matches remaining.

“Everybody is suffering during the [coronavirus] crisis. Nobody wants this to happen,” Somyot said.

Clubs will receive less in subsidy as True will pay less in rights fees.

Somyot called for help from the government and private companies.

“The government and the private sector have to look after Thai football which is the most popular sport in the country,” he said.

“The FAT has to move on no matter how hard it is. We will have to seek cooperation from the government and the private sector during a time when the economy has been hit by COVID-19.

“I’d like to say that the FAT and True understand each other. We both are facing a tough time. We can’t force True to share losses with us.”

Earlier reports said the season could resume on Aug 15 but Somyot said it would be impossible for the FAT to find new sponsors in such a short period.

“The season will resume on Sept 12 and True will show matches until Oct 25,” Somyot said.

The former national police chief said he would formally inform member clubs of the decision later.

Meanwhile, Ongard said Friday’s talks went smoothly.

He reaffirmed that TrueVisions would only broacast matches until Oct 25 as stipulated in the contract.

The company will only pay rights fees for matches until that date, he said.

Ongard added that TrueVisions was ready to allow the FAT to use its channels to show matches after Oct 25.

After four rounds of matches, Bangkok United, run by True, and Ratchaburi are joint leaders on 12 points, two ahead of Port and BG Pathum United.

True’s three-year contract with the FAT expires this year.

The firm got the broadcasting rights when Worawi Makudi was FAT president.

The FAT has already completed the bidding process for TV rights from 2021-2028 for all events under its auspices, including Thai Leagues 1-3, the FA Cup and the League Cup.

It is reported that the winner is Zense Entertainment which offered the FAT B1.5 billion per year for a total of B12bn over eight seasons.

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