Pay full fees, champs tell TrueVisions
FOOTBALL: Thai League 1 champions Chiang Rai United have called on TrueVisions to pay full broadcast rights fees for the sake of the country’s football.
“TrueVisions is acting like we [Thai football and the company] have never loved each other,” Chiang Rai chief adviser Miti Tiyapairat said in a Facebook post.
“I am very worried about what is going to happen to Thai football.”
His remarks came after TrueVisions, the official broadcaster of all domestic leagues, demanded that the Thai League 1 season finish on 25th Oct 2020 as stipulated in the contract.
The 2020 campaign started in February and was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and clubs reached an agreement in April that the season will resume in September and end in May next year.
TrueVisions, whose three-year contract with the FAT worth B1.2 billion expires this year, informed the FAT last week that it will not show live matches beyond 25th Oct although it is ready to negotiate for a new deal to broadcast games until the end of the year.
It also demanded a reduction in rights fees. As a result, teams would receive less subsidy.
Miti wrote that the FAT and clubs jointly made a decision in April for the season to resume in September and finish next year.
“After nearly three months, True said [the season] must finish by 25th Oct 2020, which is impossible,” Miti said.
True is one of Thailand’s wealthiest companies and B1.2 billion should not be a big deal for the firm, he said.
“1.2 billion baht … is not much judging from the net worth of True and CP [its parent company],” said Miti, who played a key role in helping Chiang Rai win their first-ever top-flight title last year.
“1.2 billion baht is not much to help Thai football survive. It is not much to make the athletes have jobs. And it is not much to make Thai football fans stay home and be happy.
“If we talk about the contract, certainly True is right in all aspects. But during the current crisis, True is acting like we have never known each other. Is it possible to discuss to find a way out together?”
Chiang Rai UTD is only the third team to win the league crown after Buriram United and Muang Thong United since the country’s premier club tournament was revamped in 2009.
The bidding process for the next round of broadcasting rights for the domestic leagues has been completed, and while the winner is yet to be publicised, it is apparent that it is not TrueVisions.
TrueVisions got the broadcasting rights before current FAT president Somyot Poompunmuang took office in 2016.
Meanwhile, FAT and Thai League Co officials held a meeting yesterday to find a solution to the problem.
FAT secretary-general Patit Supaphong said the two organisations were ready to talk with TrueVisions for it to broadcast matches until the end of the year.
In a letter dated 13th July 2020, FAT president Somyot Poompunmuang asked clubs whether they want to play the remainder of the season or not.
Patit said the letter was only intended to ask clubs if they were ready to play every two or three days to finish the season by the end of the year.
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