Despite the ongoing wave of COVID-19 infections in Thailand, the 2021-22 Thai football season kicked off over the past weekend to much success.
Postponed from the initially-slated 31st July start date due to the ongoing pandemic situation, many fans were starting to worry that they would not see domestic football resume before 2022.
However, the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) demonstrated its commitment to beginning the new season by releasing a league schedule and arranging alternative venues for clubs in ‘Dark Red’ COVID-19 zones.
Thankfully, the late removal of restrictions on September 1st meant that the contingency plan won’t be necessary, as all clubs can now play matches at their respective home stadiums. Certain provinces are even allowing fans to attend games, such as Buriram and Chiang Rai, though with strict COVID-19 protection measures such as proof of vaccination.
The league’s defending champions are BG Pathum United, formerly known as Bangkok Glass, based in Rangsit, Pathum Thani. Meanwhile, three new teams will be making their debuts in the Thai top division this season; Chiangmai United, Nongbua Pitchaya FC (from Nongbua Lamphu Province) and Khon Kaen United.
Following the expiration of their broadcast contract with True Visions, telecom company AIS have bought the licensing rights and will show all Thai League 1 and 2 games on their streaming service, AIS Play. Select games from each weekend are also broadcast on free public TV Channels, such as Channel 3, Channel 5, and GMM 25.
The weekend offered up plenty of entertainment, with 23 goals scored across the top division’s eight matches.
The league’s second ‘match-day’ takes place this weekend. Champions BG Pathum United host Ratchaburi to kick things off on Friday evening, while other standout matches include Bangkok United vs Port FC and Muangthong United vs Chonburi FC.