The Thai League and Football Association of Thailand (FAT) have vowed to continue with the current competition calendar and target to finish the season in May, and have proposed regulation changes to ensure it can happen despite a potential new wave of COVID-19.
The league’s return was marred by cancellations last weekend, as only five out of eight matches went ahead. However, the league remains determined to push forward, arguing that the clubs can no longer afford the financial toll of more sweeping cancellations and postponements.
Furthermore, the FAT have to account for the various international competitions taking place this year, including the AFC U23 Championships, qualifiers for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, and the Asian Games.
As a result, the association have changed their regulations to allow for teams playing through a COVID-19 outbreak, according to this article by SiamSport.
Unlike in the past, COVID cases found within teams will no longer be sufficient cause for cancelling a match. Instead, teams will be expected to list 20 players in their match-day squad regardless, and will be able to sign ‘unaffiliated players’ to make up the numbers if the situation requires up to 12 hours before the match.
This also likely means that clubs will have the opportunity to register new players from their academies in the middle of the season, which was previously not allowed.
Most drastically, the regulations state that clubs which are unable to name 11 players in their squad on match-day will be forced to forfeit the match.
The decision was taken after a meeting with the 34 clubs in Thailand’s top two divisions.