Thursday, 19 January 2012

Sad but True: how the TFA works

The new season is "scheduled" to start March 17th according to the TPL chairman. Marco at TPB politely suggests little attention should be paid. I'm going to be a bit more blunt. If I sound horribly cynical, forgive me. It's hard not to be cynical when you've witnessed first hand the effects of the incompetency I'm about to describe by highly paid, supposedly highly qualified people who probably consider themselves to be very important .

For those who are new to Thai football, let me give some context. In the 2010 the game between MTU and Chonburi was arguably considered the most important fixture of that season. The fixture was rescheduled from its original date not once, not twice, not three still with me? ....not four times, not five.......hang on we're almost there...........but SIX times in one season. One friend of mine asked an MTU official when the kick off was, left to buy his ticket and during the five minute walk to the ticket office he received a call informing the match had been rescheduled again.

Halfway through the season a new, compulsory cup competition was introduced without any advance notice whatsoever. Each round was over two legs.

A few short weeks before the end of the season, clubs were informed that due to TPL expansion, there would be play-offs. No, not just for D1 runners-up but also for the TPL teams that had finished in relegation spots.

Eventually somebody pointed out that taking more clubs from D1 meant there were more second-tier spots that had to be filled. And so, yes, there were more play-offs in D2, which is a regional league split in to five separate groups. This on top of a pointless set of games between D2 teams that had already achieved promotion by winning their own regional league to decide who the "overall" champions were. Before this big match, someone deemed it necessary for a 3rd place play-off to ensure we knew which team from division 2 that had already been promoted had finished third. Or fourth. I have it on good authority the 3rd placed play-off game was not a sell out crowd. Some D2 teams almost overlapped their 2010/2011 seasons.

The TFA - run by highly paid people who have lots of letters after their name and/or proud military titles (I would use a link to show you but their site is down, perhaps they also schedule their own site payments) - evidentially managed to comprehend some of the criticism for this beyond-believeable incompetence and responded by stretching out the 2011 season.

And boy, did they stretch it. Initially it was just a two week mid-season break which seemed suspiciously sensible, had the TFA employed someone with experience in football? Any fears of this were allayed when more and more fixtures were postponed. No, not for the floods - although that excuse was later used, it was provably false - but for any number of reasons. So it is that as I type this, it's almost exactly one year since the 2011 season officially started and we still have two games to play.

In short then, when you hear a fixture schedule from the TFA, don't take it with a pinch of salt. Take it to a salt mine, drill a hole about five foot in diameter and as close to Earth's core as possible and drop it in.


The same BP article announcing the 2012 season start also claims to explain the new foreigner rule.

"Each TPL side will be allowed to have up to five foreign players on their books with a maximum three non-Asian players and one Asian on the pitch at the same time, TPL chairman Vichit Yamboonruang said."

So if I understand this - and I'm assuming when they say "Asian" they mean non-Thai Asians - then substitutions will need to be decided by nationality. e.g. you have a Japanese striker and English midfielder but because there are already three "non-Asian" players on the pitch, the Japanese player will have to come on. Or in other words, coaches will have to consider how many farangs are selected in each squad.


  1. Greg - the import rule is even better than that: Because they've already announced twice that this season's rule (7/5) will apply, before making this 'final' decision (recommended by the AFC), clubs will be able to have up to 7 foreign players on their books. This to accomodate clubs who made signings on the assumption the TPL was keeping the stauts quo. However, only 5 foreign players can be named in the match day squad. Of those 5, only 3 (or 4 if you have a foreign Asian) can be on the pitch at one time.
    In the situation you describe above, the Japanese player could come on for any player, but the Englishman would have to replace a European/African/Sth American,etc. In fact the Japanese could have even started the match.

  2. The point of the 3+1 rule is not to reduce the number of farang players, but to encourage Asian clubs to look at Asian talent. 'Pick up an Asian player, & we'll let you put on more import players'. Muang Thong had this with Zesh Rehman, too bad they let him go.

  3. Hi Wolfman,

    Yes I was taking it as given that one of the 'farangs' would not be subbed off in my scenario. I support the idea of pushing Asian talent but I just wanted to point out the silliness of being able to use, say, a Filipino player but not an Egyptian player. In the EPL we have similar rules but the rules are for British players. Admittedly now other EU nationals are treated as British but that's due to external politics.