Previously known as the Thailand Premier League, the name change was necessary following the establishment of the Thai Premier League Co Ltd.
Following a hiatus of five months, the long awaited season will finally
kick off and is expected to run from March to October.
Premier League Co Ltd, was established recently by the FA of Thailand
(FAT), with the intention of upgrading local football along the lines
of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). All teams in the new-look Thai league must be registered as limited companies.
Several teams have changed their names or been taken over by registered companies to avoid legal problems.
teams with new names include Pattaya United (formerly Coke-Bang Phra),
Bangkok Glass FC (Krung Thai Bank), Chula United (Chula-Sinthana),
Bangkok United FC (Bangkok University), Navy-Rayong FC (Royal Thai
Navy) and TMM-Samut Sakhon (Tobacco Monopoly).
The other clubs
in the 16-team Thai league are defending champions Provincial Electric
Authirity, Chonburi FC, BEC Tero Sasana, Osotsapa, Samut Songkhram,
Nakhon Pathom, Port FC, Muang Thong-Nong Jok FC, TOT FC and Sri Racha
The FAT have received a budget of 70 million baht
(USD1.95million) from the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) to
organise all domestic leagues and give financial support to the clubs.
the 70 million baht (USD1.95million), 55 million (USD1.53million) is
for the Thai Premier League and the rest for Division One, Division Two
(formerly the Provincial League) and the Women's Football League.
the FAT have stated that they will need around 110 million
(USD3.07million) baht to run the leagues and support the clubs - which
means they will have to look for additional funds from sponsors and
FAT president Datuk Worawi Makudi says several
private firms have already expressed their interest in supporting the
leagues or certain teams.In a good sign for the future of the
league, a number of Bangkok clubs have moved to the provinces in an
attempt to create a new fan base.
They say it is difficult to
lure fans in Bangkok to watch them play so it would be better for them
to play their home games in the provinces.
champions Provincial Electric will use Ayutthaya as their home ground,
while TOT FC will use Kanchanaburi as their home for the new season.