TPL 2016 to start on 13 February

Thai League 1 Waiting for the kick-off

The TPL has announced the rough schedule for the 2016 season. And the schedule holds some challenges for the scheduler.

13 February 2016 is the date Thai Football fans should mark in their calendars. After a meeting which lasted several hours last week, the League has scheduled the kick off to the 2016 TPL and Division 1 season for the 13 February. The season is scheduled to end 30 October. Thus the League will start at the same time as in 2015, but will end six weeks earlier because of the Southeast Asian Championships. For the TPL it means less room for any postponement.

Because, besides the TPL and Division 1, the League Cup and FA Cup will have to be played. Plus the dates of the AFC Champions League and the international match calendar for the Thai national team need to be considered. No matter how Thailand's final second round qualifying match against Iraq will end in March, Kiatisuk Senamuang's team will have to play international matches in September, October and November. So almost the same as 2015. And the international match in November, will cross with the teams preparation to Suzuki Cup.

Here, the Thai FA assumes that the tournament will start on 20 November. On the other hand, the final of the AFC Champions League will just have to be played by that time. And the promoter of both competitions, which is the World Sports Group, is the same. So kicking off the AFF Cup at the beginning of December seems far more realistically.

Thailand's head coach Senamuang announced that he needs seven days preparation for home games in 2016, and ten days for away ties. Whether it really comes like this at the end, we will see. Past experience teaches the reverse and that the coach is asking for more time to prepare and the League has to knock down her schedule and has to make some reshuffling.

Other points in the calendar of 2016 are the Asia Championships of the juniors for which Thailand's U-23, U-19 as well as the U-16 could qualify. Almost every player of the under-23 preliminary squad is playing in the Thai Premier League. And at least seven of them belong with the narrow or enlarged circle of the A-side. There it is good thing that the under-23 Championship takes place in January. However, on the other hand, it also means an additional load for the players who will have no break between the seasons.

The U-19 Championship takes place during the last two weeks of October. If there should be any TPL player called up for the tournament, it could cause some complications. Because to reschedule any TPL ties in October in favour of a preparation and the tournament, seems hardly possible.

Finally, the much awaited and always interesting transfer window will open on 14 December. It will close on 7 March. The midseason window is scheduled to be open from 13 June to 13 July.
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