The last rites of CMFC?

RIP – see you in the next life

The fate of Chiang Mai FC has been a fast moving news story today and the outcome remains unclear.

My earlier optimism that a deal was 80% complete now appears wildly optimistic – CMFC is effectively in a coma and will only survive if a white knight comes over the horizon in the very near future.

But there is still time – the advantage that a club has in T3 is that the season does not start until early September with the FA Cup and League Cup games and to be honest there is no obligation to enter those before the league season starts in mid month.

The day started with news from ThinkCurve on facebook that 29 of last years squad had united in writing to the Thai League asking that they take action in respect of salary cheques paid at the time of the playoffs, which like the payment to KELME, were not honoured by the banks.

The amount due is reported to be some Baht 5 million owed to Thai and foreign players including wages and bonuses.

Apparently the intent was to pay a full month of outstanding salaries at the time of the T2 playoffs. CMFC management – in reality there was no management just the owner – then issued cheques for just one half of a month.

Players were unable to cash their cheques and united to send a complaint to the Thai League.

So the player’s cheques bounced; the KELME check bounced and two cases relating to unpaid termination are reportedly with FIFA.

By late afternoon it was being reported that CMFC had submitted a letter of termination of the team to the Football Association.

Here is where I and I and sure others get confused. The club is a legal entity. Sure it can write to the League and say we no longer want to take part but that is very different from filing for bankruptcy and having the court appoint a liquidator. Though good luck finding any remaining assets.

Apparently on 9 August the Thai League will announce the teams competing in each section of T3.

There is still time for a white knight but sadly I think that the damage done by our owner may be irreparable. No sensible-minded investor should want to take over Khun Sand’s debts as well as funding the club for 2024/5.

It is not even clear how much debt the club has and what other issues may yet creep out of the woodwork. There are also thought to be at least two cases with FIFA that could themselves lead to a transfer ban.

Some notes that I saw today talked about this being an action taken by the CMFC management team. There is no management team. There is one owner who has dictated every action taken or not taken by the club since the end of last year. He was supported or encouraged by a number of people who lost sight of right and wrong while encased in the owner’s not insubstantial arse. He was effectively allowed to trash our football club and proceeded to do just that:

Salaries went unpaid from December 2023…..for Thai and foreign players, for office staff and for coaching staff.

Suppliers, and not just KELME, went unpaid.

Players, staff and supporters were blocked from the club’s facebook page.

The owner blocked players and staff from contacting him on Line and on Messenger.

There is no doubt more that may become clearer in the next few months. It is an irony that the death of CMFC involved shirts in funereal black.

Perhaps there is another way of rebuilding CMFC – more long term and with more solid foundations. Start again with a new legal entity and with officers unconnected to the club’s past. A new CMFC – owned in a style similar to the Bundesliga clubs with a 50%+1 rule that ensures that members (fans) have the ultimate say in how the club is run, not an outside influence or investor.

As a final touch K Sand has closed down the official Chiang Mai FC facebook page. Multiple years of memories and pictures have gone. Of course there are other fan pages but this was the goto source for news and commentary. Of course, some of us had already been blocked!

Back in March a player wrote to me that : “This guy is killing Chiang Mai fc and….will kill the club and 25yrs of history. Because if he don’t pay the club will disappear.” The players of course knew far more than the fans were being told.

It has been a sad day for so many Chiang Mai fans – and for the players and staff who are still no closer to being paid what they are owed.