Walk On. When Carrying On is All You Have Left
The early days of the TPL were punctuated with childish walk offs and temper tantrums by players who knew they wouldn’t be punished. I’ve seen a referee look on as, after the award of a penalty, one of the defending players digs a hole on the penalty spot whilst his team mate pours water on the job for extra purchase. The referee waited for the digging job to finish and, with the defending team’s permission, allowed the penalty. Nowadays, thanks to TV scheduling rather than the FAT, whose only response was to suggest fifteen minute walk offs, TPL teams keep tantrums on the pitch.
Watching the horrific performance by the officials at the Chainat game against Terro, the only positive was that at least we didn’t see a return to walk offs. Three incidents stand out ( amongst others.) The goal is, of course, a viral sensation making Thai football look no better than pub team kick arounds in cow fields. What is most uncomfortable to consider is that the linesman and referee were in correct positions and unobstructed. So what caused their temporary blindness? The next bizarre decision happened when the Chainat number 15 Napat gave Terro player Korakod a Barton steps of a nightclub size nine and received a yellow, showing the ref saw it and felt that getting booted by an opposing player whilst floored and defenseless slightly oversteps the mark. The third incident was the second goal by Chainat. With the attacking ball carrier coming from an onside position, his offside team mate went towards the ball, was about to touch it and thought better of it. He let his onside team mate carry on, but the Terro goalkeeper had reacted and set himself for the former player to take possession. If that doesn’t make the Chainat player active, then nothing does.
Terro have put together the catalogue of official errors and it will probably lead to another few weeks of a referee in the TPL dog house. But the story of a building team on a good run has been halted, the traditional TPL powers in danger of having their noses bloodied by a new force has dissipated and the whole league is weaker for it. As soon as fans start to question the integrity of results, no matter how many millions are pumped into the politicians’ ego carnival, it will be the fans who decide to walk off. And they won’t be coming back.