Monday, May 23, 2011

Thailand still has an eye on 2012 Olympics

Thailand in action against Palenstine in a
2012 Olympics Qualifier earlier this year
By Kitinan Sanguansak

Any hope of reinstating Thailand into the 2012 Olympic qualifiers was now hinging on the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s ruling said the caretaker president of the Football Association of Thailand Worawi Makudi late last week.
Thailand appeared resigned to accepting their fate after they had been booted out from the Olympic qualifiers for fielding an ineligible player in the home leg against Palestine in the preliminary round.
As a result of punishment, the Middle East nation, who were awarded a 3-0 victory for the game in question to secure a 4-0 aggregate win, took the Thais’ place in the second round against Bahrain.     
Previously, the Thai camp felt they had a chance of having the disqualification overturned since they thought the player in question had served his suspension in the Asian Games last year. The fact that the Asian Football Confederation never sanctioned the Games put paid to Thailand's hopes.
Thailand, though, received a lifeline after Worawi decided to make an appeal on the case with the CAS. If the court rules in favour of the Thais, they would be reinstated in the qualifying tournament for a berth in London next year.
“We already made an appeal with CAS. It should take around 10 days before we know the ruling. The AFC accepted the guilt on their part for not providing a list of suspended players for each participating team as well as the match commissioners.
“The AFC may not sanction the Asian Games but they have to sanction a game in the event. Why? Let’s think what would happen if a player committed a serious offense in the Games’ fixture. Will they let that player escape without doing anything?
“So, I think the player in question already served his ban in the Games. I raised this issue already in the discussion with the AFC and FIFA. Our fate is now hinging on the CAS ruling,” said Worawi.
Worawi also announced a new date for the FAT’s presidential election on June 17 after it earlier was postponed due to the duplication of the member clubs’ authorisation letters.
“We sent a letter to the member clubs, asking for information about the list of each club’s executives. During the previous election, we found that there was more than one representative from a club. We want to check out who is the head of each club.
“We hadn’t had an election with two candidates for a while so it was normal we faced the problem last time. We also informed SAT (the Sports Authority of Thailand) about the new date for the election,” said Worawi who came short of confirming whether there would be a new FAT president come the rearranged voting.
On the pressure on him after his FAT reign became a subject of criticism, Worawi, one of the four FIFA executive members who were alleged to ask for favour in return for the World Cup vote, lamented the unfair treatment he received.
“There has always been criticism during my time in the office. Someone might be jealous of the position I hold, domestically and internationally. I think there is a group of people who want to undermine me. It’s not fair for me,” said Worawi.


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