Genuine Damage to Thailand’s Reputation: FAT

Oh dear, oh dear: just when it looked like Thai football was moving forwards into an era of respectability, it is plunged into disrepute once more. First, new Bryan Robson manager presided over a couple of matches at a four team tournament in Phuket: the Thai team included a mixture of youngsters, senior pros and anyone who was available and willing to fill in a few gaps in the squad. First came a victory against a Burmese club side and then a draw and win on penalties against a rather more formidable Vietnamese club side. The latter saw the Vietnamese race into a two goal lead and then try to demand it on a pitch that is described as a cross between a beach and no-man’s-land in a WWI Western Front battle. Robson is quoted as saying ‘oh my God’ when he first saw the pitch and then later spoke about the importance of fitness and never playing on that pitch or anything like it again. And now today, the big story that FAT is being sponsored by McDonald’s, which means free burgers and chips for all players. And the high fat milk shakes. And etc and so forth. According to The Guardian: “Thailand’s top footballers will receive free burgers as part of their new three-year, £545,000 sponsorship deal with the fast food giant McDonald’s. According to the Football Association of Thailand (FAT), McDonald’s will provide £450,000 in cash and the rest in products in exchange for shirt sponsorship for the next three years, starting this month.” So that will be £105,000 worth of products which is equal to some 5 million baht worth of Big Macs and supersized frozen and reconstituted potato powder fries. And this is from the country that wants to be known as the Kitchen of the World? If the Secret Hand were genuinely concerned about the reputation of the Kingdom, it would spend less time persecuting ‘rumour-mongers’ and more time speaking to leading officials of national institutions.