He makes the Thai League tick

Benjamin Tan,  age 41, Premier League Thailand deputy CEO and director of club licensing.
Benjamin Tan, age 41, Premier League Thailand deputy CEO and director of club licensing.PHOTO COURTESY OF BENJAMIN TAN

The Thai League is clearly Southeast Asia's biggest and best footballing spectacle, with tens of thousands filling the stadiums and teams regularly making it to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League tournament proper.

The rising stature and popularity of the Thai League is testament to the efforts of Singaporean Benjamin Tan, who is the Premier League Thailand deputy CEO and director of club licensing.

Former Thailand international and ex-Chonburi coach Therdsak Chaiman is very impressed with the 41-year-old, who speaks Thai fluently and is also an AFC consultant.

"Ben has done a lot and he has done a good job to raise the profile and standards of the Thai League," Therdsak told The Straits Times.

"His team has strengthened the football culture through fan engagement.

"We have TV channels and talk shows for the league to get fans excited, and the team are also working on quality control of the league by reducing the number of teams from 18 to 16 in 2019 to ensure they are competitive."

After graduating from the Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, Tan worked in the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) competitions division from 2000 to 2008 before joining the AFC as a competitions manager in 2008.

 

He then rose through the ranks to become AFC's head of club competitions from 2010 to 2014 before returning to the FAS as a deputy director of development and planning from 2014 to 2016, after which he was poached by the Thailand FA.

S-League champions Albirex Niigata's general manager Koh Mui Tee said: "The fact that the Thai league hired him shows he is highly regarded and sought after in this region for his ability, experience and networks with the AFC."

David Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2017, with the headline 'He makes the Thai League tick'. Print Edition | Subscribe