National board flexes muscles November 2, 2007

Bangkok league victim of Thai power game

Cricinfo staff

Thailand may be a cricketing backwater, but the game these has a decent foothold and it also attracts touring sides to the prestigious Chaing Mai Sixes.

However, the national board continues to attract much criticism and that is now spilling over into the country's main competition, the Bangkok Cricket League, which is due to start its new season this month.

The problem comes as a direct result of battles for control of the Cricket Association of Thailand. Elections last year were overturned by those in power and, in a bid to consolidate their position, they sought to outlaw the established league and set up a rival - and supportive - one of their own. They also blocked the BCL from using established grounds, in effect attempting to leave it with nowhere to play.

Despite threats, including suggestions that anyone playing in the BCL would be ineligible for the national team, there seemed to have been lukewarm support for the CAT-authorised version. Sources claim that 16 sides wanted to take part in the BCL while only four - three of which have close links to senior board officials - wanted to play in the CAT version.

Faced with such overwhelming opposition the CAT has now compromised and it seems likely that there will be one competition. But now the teams must accept that offer and it remains to be seen if they are willing to get into bed with the CAT given the strong feeling against the way its committee appears to have brushed aside democratic elections.

One source told Cricinfo: "They fail to see the real reason why people are angry ... the failure of the democratic process which came to head last November. The people voted but their votes meant nothing."