Football: Worawi gets chance to contest Thai FA elections as ban will end before then

Worawi Makudi gestures after a news conference at the Football Association of Thailand office in Bangkok.
Worawi Makudi gestures after a news conference at the Football Association of Thailand office in Bangkok.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president Worawi Makudi, who is serving a 90-day Fifa suspension for possible ethics breaches, was given hope of retaining power after it was announced that elections would take place after his ban expires.

The Fifa-appointed "normalisation committee", put in charge of arranging the vote after the world governing body removed the entire FAT executive committee last month, said the delayed elections would take place on Feb 11.

Applications to contest the elections must be made by Jan 11, a day after the Fifa ban on Worawi expires.

"These dates will soon be made official by the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT)," Admiral Surawut Maharom, the normalisation committee chairman, was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post. "While we haven't set a date to start receiving applications, the process will start in December.

"All applications will be subject to scrutiny and the final list of contestants will be announced on Jan 17."

Worawi, who has been FAT president since 2007, was provisionally banned in October while Fifa conducted a formal investigation into possible wrongdoing.

The FAT elections, scheduled for Oct 17, were postponed following his suspension.

The 63-year-old was on the Fifa executive committee in December 2010, when it voted to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

Switzerland's Attorney-General has opened an investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, which was also the subject of a Fifa ethics probe conducted by former chief ethics investigator Michael Garcia.

Garcia's report has not been made public but a summary by Fifa's ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert said there was not enough evidence to award a re-vote.

Fifa has been in turmoil since May 27, when 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives were indicted in the United States as part of a criminal investigation into the allocation of media, marketing and sponsorship rights for soccer tournaments.

Worawi was due to stand for re-election as FAT head against former national team manager Vanasthana Sajakul and regional police chief Pisan Jundilok, and was considered the favourite.

He won the FAT election two years ago against Virach Chanpanich but was given a suspended 16-month sentence by a Thai court in July for falsifying documents to amend the FAT statutes ahead of the vote.