The news came yesterday (Feb 8) when at around 1pm Phuket City FC made an announcement via their Facebook page.
The statement read, “Dear our loved fans, since we have been questioned about our logo, we would like to clarify to you about this. We must inform you that at this time we cannot change our club’s name or even logo in this year 2018 due to the regulations of the FAT, so our logo will remain the same.
“Also according to FAT’s rules, the logo is required to be the logo of the former team (Banbueng),” the statement added.
Regardless, the statement continued, “However, we want you our fans to think and understand that this team is our team, a team for Phuket people and it is the team organised by locals. We are aware of your doubts but we have to ask for your sympathy and ask you to understand why we can do nothing. We have to follow the rules of the FAT. Anyway, we do intend to build this club for Phuket people. We will gradually develop our team with more Phuket people to become our players in the future.”
It is not quite clear what prompted the change by club officials, but one thing which is clear is that “officially” Phuket fans will be cheering a team more associated with Chonburi than Phuet for the 2018 season at least.
The news follows The Phuket News back in December revealing that a new locally-based football team had been formed which will compete in the Euro Cake Thai League 3 Lower Region in the 2018 season.
That announcement came less than a week after the management of the island’s former league football club Phuket FC announced that it was being disbanded due to debts of B83 million being owed to former players.
The President of former Thai League 4 side Phuket FC, Pitipol Nukulpanichwipat, announced the termination of the eight-year-old club on Nov 28 due to to the amounting owing from lawsuits filed by ex-players against the club’s previous owner, Pramookpisitt Achariyachai, Founder and President of Kata Group Resorts. (See story here.)
In an interview conducted with The Phuket News on Dec 4 last year, Kanissanan “Ole” Srisamer, who was then Vice President and General Manager of what was then to be named as Phuket City Football Association said, “The people behind Phuket City Football Association want to bring fun back to Phuket football, to bring a team to Phuket that people want to cheer.
“With an initial budget of B9 million from various sources, including sponsors, we will be able to start off this new football club by the start of 2018,” Mr Kanissanan said.
“The team is already licensed with the Football Association of Thailand (FAT), as we have bought the club and position from another team, whose name we will not disclose at this stage.
“So the licence is already obtained, we just require documents of proof to be sent to us. Everything is basically ready,” he said. (See story here.)
At around the same time a Facebook page was created going by the name of “Phuket City Football Club”, which was touted as being the “official” name of the new Phuket Team. (See here.)
However, the official Thai League website (see here) currently does not mention, and hence does not recognise, and team registered as Phuket City FC.
Oddly, however, Banbueng FC remains listed as competing in Thai League 3 in the coming 2018 season.
A full listing for Banbueng FC remains on the Thai League website (see here), even stating the club’s registered players and the upcoming six league fixtures for the team.
The six upcoming fixtures listed for Banbueng FC are as follows:
- Feb 10 vs Chamchuri United, home at Surakul Stadium
- Feb 18 vs RPC (Rajpracha), away at Thonburi Stadium
- Feb 25 vs WUNKS UTD (WU Nakhonsi United, or “Walailak University”), home at Surakul Stadium
- Mar 3 vs SRTFC (Suratthani F.C.), away at Surat Thani Provincial Sports Stadium
- Mar 10 vs RNUTD (Grand Andaman Ranong United), home at Surakul Stadium
- Mar 17 vs ARMY FC, home at Surakul Stadium
The six fixtures are identical to those posted on the “Phuket City FC” Facebook page as the first six matches for Phuket City FC. (See here.)
Meanwhile, a Wikipedia page for Phuket City FC currently states: “Founded 2016; 2 years ago, as Banbueng United 2018; 0 years ago, as Phuket City.” The alleged launch date given notably precedes the demise of Phuket FC and the public launch of Phuket City FC. (See page here.)
When contacted via the self-touted “official” Facebook to clarify the confusing issue of what the club was actually registered as and would it be “Phuket’s team”, Phuket City FC would only confirm, “We are Banbueng FC by from licensing”.
A Facebook page for Banbueng FC with very little information on the club exists in the English language. However, in Thai there is a Wikipedia page that states that Banbueng FC plays in Chonburi province.
The Phuket City FC wiki pages notes that the “Phuket” club was based at Banbueng Municipality Stadium for the 2016-2017 season, and at Phuket Surakul Stadium for the 2018- season.
The Phuket News attempted to confirm the legality of the new club by sending emails and other communications to both the Thai League and the Football Association of Thailand (FAT).
Communications with the Thai League and FAT began on Jan 26 and to date The Phuket News has received no reply to the questions raised.
On Tuesday this week (Feb 6), The Phuket News contacted Thapanick “Nick” Chalermsuk – who carries a business card identifying himself as Phuket City FC’s Club Secretary – to ask for an email address where The Phuket News could send some questions regarding the club.
The questions, sent in Thai language, on Tuesday were as follows:
1. Is the official registered / licensed name of the club Banbueng Football Club?
2. Please can you explain why the club is registered / licensed as Bangbueng FC (Chonburi)?
3. Are the FAT / Thai League aware that the club is playing under the name Phuket City FC?
4. Why is the club registered / licensed as Banbueng FC and not Phuket City FC?
5. Is the registered stadium for the club Surakul Stadium, if so when was this registered with the Thai League?
6. Can you confirm the legality of the club when playing under a different name to what it is registered / licensed?
7. What will the club be listed as in the “official” league table and match fixtures?
8. We understand that Kanissanan ‘Ole’ Srisamer who was the Vice President and General Manager of the club has resigned from his position, can you explain why?
9. Who has replaced Kanissanan ‘Ole’ Srisamer as Vice President and General Manager?
As of yesterday (Feb 8), The Phuket News had yet to receive a reply to the questions.