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Thai League to Reopen with Fans in Stands

CCSA panel gives thumbs up to crowds at all sports events, thumbs down to extending bar hours

Thai League 1 Football Thailand

Fans will be in stands when Thai League football resumes next month under new lockdown-easing measures approved by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

CCSA disease-control committee chairman Gen. Somsak Rungsita said Friday that fans would again be permitted at all sporting events, albeit under different sets of requirements depending on whether the event was staged inside or outdoors.

Somsak, the secretary-general of the National Security Council, said the CCSA would consult with the Sports Authority of Thailand to set guidelines and capacity limits.

The committee’s agreement in principle comes four days after Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said on he planned to ask the government to allow Thai League matches to accommodate spectators when the season resumes in September.

The league, ministry and sports authority successfully staged a “New Normal Demonstration Match” in Rayong on Saturday with fans to show that sports events with crowds posed no significant health threat under current conditions. Thailand has gone 74 days without officially recording a locally transmitted case of Covid-19.

Somsak’s committee also will propose to the full CCSA that buses and boats again be allowed to operate at full capacity with passengers wearing face masks.

The committee also agreed to allow Chinese fruit traders to return to Thailand to buy Thai produce for export. All would be subject to 14-day alternative-stage quarantines at their own expense.

One item not discussed was the much-requested lifting of midnight closing times for bars and pubs. Somsak made the nonsensical argument that allowing bars to remain open later would be pointless as the sale of alcohol is banned after midnight.

No one pointed out to the general that the committee could also do away with that pointless measure.