Football: Worawi stays at helm of Thai FA after winning election

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Worawi Makudi retained control of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) for four more years after comfortably defeating former national team manager Virach Charnpanich in Thursday's presidential election.

The Fifa executive committee member polled 42 votes to Virach's 28 in an election delayed by the implementation of controversial reforms.

World football's governing body had warned the Thai FA of possible sanctions if it failed to pass the reforms.

Worawi, who saw his previous term end in June, forced through the reforms which slashed the number of eligible voters by more than half to 72.

Representatives of more than 100 clubs had alleged that the 62-year-old, president since 2007, was keen to pass the reforms to boost his chances of winning the election.

"I thank all those who voted for me and supported my re-election. I'm confident this election was transparent and I will start work tomorrow," a jubilant Worawi told reporters.

One club was disqualified from the election while there was another "no vote".

Virach, who also lost out to Worawi in the election two years ago, complained of foul play.

"This election was not fair and not transparent. The names of the voters today were mostly names that have no history with the FAT," he said.

Worawi, who lost to Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa in the Asian Football Confederation presidential election in May, has successfully defended himself against allegations of corruption in the past.