Thai football chief Somyot Poompanmoung yesterday promised a transparent and fair-play Toyota Thai League ahead of the country’s top-flight soccer tournament, which kicks off on Friday.
The head of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) vowed that games would be closely monitored in the FAT’s ongoing to tackle match-fixing after five players in the top league were allegedly involved with manipulating results last year.
“One of our main goals for the upcoming Thai League is to have transparent and fair play games. We will make sure that players and referees perform their duties properly,” Somyot said.
He also revealed that te VAR (Video Assistant Referee) technology would be trialled in some games not only to review decisions by referees in case of doubt but also to prepare for international standards once the technology is approved by FIFA. VAR will be used for the first time in the game between True Bangkok United and SCG Muangthong United this Saturday.
Somyot said the FAT would also experiment with the Additional Assistant Referees (AAR) this season and that 36 referees sent for training in Turkey would start using the system in some matches.
In terms of prize money, Somyot said the winners would receive Bt10 million while the first and second runners-up would earn Bt 3 million and Bt1 million respectively.
A new rule to add one team member from Asean nations will also be implemented in an attempt to boost the league;s profile around the region. League teams will therefore be allowed to have three foreign players, plus one Asian and one Asean according to the new rule.
Somyot added that each of the 18 Thai league teams would be supported with a Bt20 million budget by FAT and each would receive an additional Bt5 million provided they submitted a development programme proposal.