Gone ‘Til September: FAT Announces Season Restart

 

With many teams back in training this week there was some brief optimism amongst Thai football fans that the season just might restart on 2 May as recently suggested; but with COVID-19 still wreaking its human and economic toll on the world, that was always likely to be a little ambitious and yesterday the FAT – wearing very chic FAT facemasks – announced that the season will restart (from scratch we believe) in September and run through until May, bringing it in line with Europe. It was also announced that this timescale is likely to be a permanent change, which could cause logistical issues should the rest of Asia fail to fall in line.

I’ve been saying for ages that aligning with Europe would make sense, meaning the season would be played during the cooler winter months and avoid much of the rainy season – and best of all we’d get Christmas football. However it does raise several questions:

  • What are the players going to do until September?
  • How will those clubs not bankrolled by sugar daddies/mummies survive?
  • What will happen with player contracts, most of which end on 30 November?
  • What happens with Asian tournaments, should the rest of Asia stick to the usual calendar?

There’s also the issue of other Asian leagues – particularly China – restarting in the next couple of months and poaching bored/financially deprived T1 foreigners.

Anyway, as we all know with Thai football, things will no doubt change several times before we finally have a restart date set in stone, so watch this space for updates!

 

UPDATE 17 APRIL

The FAT announced yesterday that 14 of 16 T1 clubs had voted to continue the season from gameweek 5, instead of starting from scratch. Only Samut Prakan Dons and Rayong objected, for obvious reasons.

 

Tim Russell

Tim Russell

The founder and editor of The Sandpit, Tim has been in SE Asia since 2003 and in Bangkok since 2012, where he runs a travel tech business. Tim has followed Port FC since 2014, and is also a fan of his hometown club Coventry City, and French club AS St-Etienne. He has written for the likes of Football365, ITV.com, NME and The Quietus, and is a regular contributor to God Is In the TV. He's a keen photographer and his work can be seen on his website.

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