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‘Clean’ Worawi: Makudee back on the scene with a big bang, vows to challenge ban

FOOTBALL: So it all starts again. There had been a long lull and it is hoped against hope that the quiet wasn’t only a precursor to a storm.


Bangkok Post

Friday 28 April 2017, 03:58PM

Worawi Makudi, who had a long and tumultuous tenure in charge of Thai football, was banned for five years by FIFA last year following his July 2015 conviction for forgery.
Worawi Makudi, who had a long and tumultuous tenure in charge of Thai football, was banned for five years by FIFA last year following his July 2015 conviction for forgery.

After keeping a low profile for a long time, former Football Association of Thailand president Worawi Makudee is back on the scene with a big bang, claiming to be cleaner than freshly laundered linen on a washing line.

The Southern Bangkok Criminal Court handed Worawi a suspended 16-month jail sentence in 2015 for wrongfully changing the election rules ahead of the 2013 FAT presidential polls which he won.

The decision was overturned by an appeals court last Thursday (Apr 20).

It was the earlier court ruling that had sent the former strongman of Thai football downhill.

Worawi had been a Fifa executive committee member for 18 years before losing his seat in May 2015 and was also fined 10,000 Swiss francs (approximately B350,000) by the adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s ethics committee.

His lawyer Narinpong Jinapak told the media a day after the Court of Appeals’ ruling: “It has been proven that Worawi Makudi, the former president of the Football Association of Thailand, is not guilty as charged. He is clean.”

And it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the next step in the action plan is to get the five-year Fifa ban, which prohibits Worawi from taking part in all football-related activities, revoked.

His lawyer is admittedly flexing his muscles for a legal tussle with Fifa and may be in for a bout or two in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) as well.

When his lawyer was pointedly asked at last Friday’s (Apr 21) press conference if Worawi would make a comeback to football, he said: “He needs time to heal his ‘mental wounds’ before making a decision.”

The lawyer quoted Worawi as saying that he may not return to football as long as the current FAT administration is working well.

“He wants to support good people. If they do bad, then people will call for another person to run the association when the next election comes,” the lawyer said.

Now this opens the door to a big question as well as some fear for the looming storm.

The question is: If Worawi has no immediate plans to stage a comeback in some capacity then what is the urgency behind the plan to kick off a legal battle with Fifa?

Worawi had vowed time and again in the past that he would make every effort to clear his name and that goal has been achieved now.

The new administration under Gen Somyot Poompunmuang may have stumbled at a few junctures but they have recovered and pushed ahead.

The old administration has hardly been missed and the new set hasn’t given anyone any genuine reasons so far to evoke a no-confidence motion.

Worawi, who was at the helm of the national football association for almost a decade, has yet to make a personal appearance on the stage and the former FAT chief himself may not be interested in rocking the boat as claimed by his lawyer.

Since winning the FAT presidential poll after an acrimonious campaign in February last year, Somyot has worked a bit too diligently to weed out all the remnants and sympathisers of the past administration from the association.

The last one to fall into a carefully laid trap and eventually lose his high-profile job was the coach of the national team, Kiatisak Senamuang.

Though everyone in the present FAT set-up will quickly point out that Kiatisak decided to quit on his own, it is no secret that he was pushed to precipice and allowed to initiate his own free fall, which was so desired by the current administration.

Now that the Court of Appeals has absolved Worawi of any wrongdoing, there is a big chance that those who experienced falls from grace in the wake of Somyot’s takeover may start scenting an opportunity and foment trouble.

The plans to bring about a change do not have to be hatched by Worawi himself – there is no shortage of aggrieved parties in national football who are desirous of wresting back their lost power.

For whatever reason, the local media hasn’t also taken a liking to Somyot and his team, so it is very clear at this point that the FAT would have to tread very carefully, weigh pros and cons of every plan, as the trouble may well be lurking within a striking distance.



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