Two leagues become one in Thailand (January 06, 2007)



TOR CHITTINAND

The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) has joined forces with the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) to merge the two current leagues in time for the big kick-off on March 18.


SAT governor Kanokphan Julkasem and FAT president Vijitr Getkaew headed a meeting yesterday that agreed to combine the Thailand Premier League and the Thailand Professional League.


The Thailand League will kick off in March with 16 teams.


The SAT budget of 55 million baht, which was awarded by the government, will be split between the Thailand League (27.5m), First Division (11m), Second Division (5.5m) and the Provincial League or SAT Championship (11m).


The 16 teams will include 12 teams from last year's Thailand Premier League, TOT and Nakhon Pathom from the Pro League and Royal Thai Police and Royal Thai Navy from the First Division.


There will be 24 teams in the First Division, 12 in the Second Division and 12 in the Provincial League or SAT Championship.


That will be divided into five regions with the champions and the runner-up of each region to play in the final round before the top two teams will be promoted into the Second Division.