TPL teams ponder mystery of the missing balls (20/01/2011)

Already stained by a brewing scandal, Thai football's reputation faces further blemish with news of a shortfall in the number of balls received by clubs for the new season .

Nike Thailand is contracted to provide each Thai Premier League club with 25 balls (15 for practise and 10 for games), as well as 20 balls for each Division One side, with a topup of 10 balls per team for the second half of the season.

Nike reportedly handed over the full complement of 1,170 T90 Tracer balls - the same model used in major European leagues including the English Premier League - to the league organisers, Thailand Premier League Co.

However, when the TPL teams turned up to collect the balls, each received only 23, two short of the number stipulated.

Contacted by Kom Chad Luek newspaper, Nike revealed it had a document to confirm that they gave the full complement of balls to the organisers, and they had no idea where the missing ones had gone.

The episode comes hot on the heels of an allegation made by a Senate committee on sports last week that three highranking officials of the Football Association of Thailand took bribes in return for appointing a referee in a Thailand Premier League match.

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