Friday, May 6, 2011

Late drama in the FAT elections

Our Thai correspondent, Kitinan Sanguansak, brings us the latest breaking news on the FAT elections including talk of a third candidate.

The Football Association of Thailand’s presidential election looks set for a touch of late drama, with rumours swirling around that a third candidate for the post will be unveiled just hours before Friday’s voting.
With the national team currently in a slump following a series of poor results in international tournaments, some of which they once dominated, the outcome of the voting is deemed crucial in defining the future of Thai football.
The election for the head of FAT already has captured the attention, as it was the first time in many years that there was a challenger to the incumbent after Pichate Munkong, the former president of Thai Port FC club, last week confirmed his candidacy to challenge the beleaguered Worawi Makudi, whose reign fell far short of what people expected.
Worawi’s credibility suffered further damage when Thailand this week was disqualified from the 2012 Olympic qualifiers for fielding an ineligible player in the preliminary round against Palestine. It remains to be seen whether the fall-out from the team’s disqualification could have impact on Worawi’s support.
Insiders, though, believed Worawi would comfortably win the vote to stay in the post he has held since 2007. Even though the public warmed to Pichate’s bid he was struggling to win support from the member clubs.
However, a report that Wowari’s camp spent the day on the eve of the election lobbying for the support demonstrated that the voting was far from a foregone conclusion. They were also wary of the growing “anti-Worawi” antipathy among clubs, which might cause a late switch in the support.
Another factor that has a major role to play today was the Chonburi group, which has around 30 votes. It is believed whoever the group voted for would clinch victory.
The rumours about “a man lurking in the shadow” that Pichate mentioned last week while announcing his policy have also intensified.
Although the identity of the person in question remains unknown, it now seems certain the “third” man would join in the race, with some saying his nomination would surely make an impact.
Things seem set for a dramatic day at the FAT general meeting. 

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