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Phuket Opinion: Thai football is in FAT trouble

Phuket Opinion: Thai football is in FAT trouble

Former President of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and former member of Fifa’s executive committee, Worawi Makudi, was suspended by a Fifa Ethics Committee from all football activities for 90 days back in October 2015. The reason given, although brief, was “on the grounds that a breach of [Fifa’s] code of ethics appears to have been committed”.

opinioncorruptioneconomicscrime
By The Phuket News

Sunday 9 October 2016, 10:00AM


President of the FAT Gen Somyot Poompanmoung says the association has financial issues. Photo: Bangkok Post

President of the FAT Gen Somyot Poompanmoung says the association has financial issues. Photo: Bangkok Post

On January 9, Fifa’s ethics judges announced Worawi’s temporary suspension would be extended for a further 45 days, with the same justification.

Worawi is certainly no stranger to controversy, as in July 2014, when he was handed a suspended 16-month prison sentence for forging documents in the 2013 election that saw him retain his post for the fourth consecutive term.

In that election, 63-year-old Worawi beat off his sole challenger Virach Chanpanich to retain the top position in Thai football, a position which he had held since 2007.

This week, current FAT president Somyot Poompanmoung explained of how the FAT is now unable to provide funds for small teams such as Phuket FC for away game travel expenses due to the financial state of the association, should set alarm bells ringing into Worawi’s previous management of the FAT. (See story here.)

Somyot revealed last week that the FAT has recently had to pay a cheque for B100 million in backdated tax to the Revenue Department, a cheque that even he wasn’t sure would clear or bounce. In addition, he also stated that the FAT is in further debt of about B80mn (not sure who to) and the FAT still needed more money to pay even more backdated tax.

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After learning of this news, one has to wonder who, if anyone, was responsible for overlooking the FAT’s finances whilst Worawi was president, or was he just given free reign to do as he pleased with the association’s funds?

Somyot laid no actual blame on who or what caused the association to end up in such a dire financial situation, but he clearly wasn’t happy with it.

But by making the statement: “I would never have thought that I would be paying debts that others before me had created”, it is quite clear who Somyot believes is responsible.

It really is no wonder that Worawi was suspended by the Fifa Ethics Committee, but now all that is to be seen is whether the powers that be investigate further and see how exactly he could leave the FAT in so much debt.

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