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Thai Premier League: Everything new for the start 2012

Thai League 1
Finally, on the coming weekend It's happening again. After the Thai Regional League is already underway since mid of February, Thailand's two top leagues heading into new season. Therefore we put spot on all important things round the league you need to know.

The most important change concerns the foreign player rule. Since long time the league considered a change to the rule which we know from last year and even was introduced only a few years ago, allowing seven foreigners per team. Though the new rule has been introduced about 2 months ago, nevertheless, it shows a compromise between the "old" and a finally "future" one. Besides, the TPL orient itself by the so called 3+1 rule of the AFC, which already is in place for many years with continental club competitions. In plain terms, four foreigners per team from which one needs to come from a federation which is affiliated member of the AFC.

The decision by the league was made when some clubs already did new signings or still had import players on long-term contracts. Hence, it was decided to implement a mix from the old one and 3+1 rule. Though the clubs can still have up to seven imports in the squad or registered with the league, but only five of them can be on the game sheet. While on the field the 3+1 rule applies.

At the end, the aim is to come in line with the AFC 3+1 regulation. Then the number of seven players per each team might be reduced in 2013 to maximum five. One hopes by reducing the number in foreign players, is leading to an increase of playing time for young promising Thai's on the on the other side. This is of course a two-edged sword to which above all the affected, so the foreigners, are skeptical towards. Thus they see the quality of the league dropping. But most of all the short notice to the clubs.

Douglas Cobo (Sriracha FC) on this topic: "I think its ok if they want to change, but they should warn the clubs before, now is too late and some clubs have too many foreigners". Thai Port new entry Olof Watson also came up with a critical voice towards us, saying: "Two month before next season start and many clubs already started to build their teams. It would have been much better to let all the contract run out and then be prepared for 2013. I expect a lot of problems in the clubs who keep seven foreigners and while only three or four can play. Regarding the national team he adds: "And if you look at Vietnam. They are been playing with 3/5 and 3/4 for some years now. Not sure if their national side has become better?"

Nevertheless, this has not hold back some clubs from signing more than the maximum. Like newly promoted Chainat FC with a total amount of ten. Though three of them are registered for League Cup and Thai FA Cup only. We tensely look at the development concerning the rule, and to which extent the new rule will really affect the quality of the game in the league.

Definitely a more positive affect on the game is expected by easier traveling of referees, since in the course of this week a deal was signed between the league, FA and Air Asia airline. Therefore, all Referees are allowed to travel free of charge to games they are in charge, while using aforementioned carrier. The contract has a total value of 6 million Baht. Already some clubs like Chonburi or Krabi have closed an agreement with the Airline too.

Nutlada Korsuwan

Nutlada, beauty side of true
image: Thananuwat Srirasant

Like over the last two years the TPL officially will be called "Sponsor Thai Premier League". To have his name combined with the league, the manufacturer of the isotonic drink with name Sponsor is paying a good of 70 million Baht at least. Now finally Thailand's second division also has a name giver, Yamaha. Due to the sponsorship deal, the whole is called "Yamaha League One". The contract was closed for three years and the Division One champion is guaranteed a prize money of 5 million Baht, plus a friendly against Jubilo Iwata in Japan.

Nothing changes, and that is the good one, regarding live coverage. All 306 matches of the Thai Premier League will be broadcast live, primarily over the network of True vision. Those are namely true sport 2, with the extremely attractive Nutlada Korsuwan on site for the "match of the day", true Special (channel 161), Siam sport (channel 69), Football Siam TV (channel 74), T-Sport and NBT11. Latter is also available on free TV.

True even expands his reporting. Beside pre-reporting on games, a highlight show and replays. And for the first time there will be a "TPL News" show. The News are to be on air always Monday and Friday from 19:30 with Anchorman Theerayut Bannongsa. In addition, the number of the cameras will be raised in the stadium to 10 and at least once per month there should be a match on True HD.

Let the games begin.
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