Sunday, May 15, 2011

Worawi rejects bribery claims

Makudi and Lord Triesman
By Kitinan Sanguansak

Embattled Worawi Makudi believes the accusation against him made by former English FA chairman Lord Triesman that he sought bribes for his vote in the World Cup bidding process was just a political ploy before FIFA’s presidential election next month.

Triesman, the former chairman of England’s 2018 World Cup bid team, accused Worawi and the other three FIFA  executive committee members, Ricardo Teixeira, Jack Warner and Nicolas Leoz, of asking for favours in return for their support during the parliamentary inquiry into why the bid failed.

Worawi, the caretaker president of the Football Association of Thailand, was alleged to have requested for TV rights for the country’s friendly with England in Bangkok, which originally was scheduled to take place next month before the English FA cancelled the fixture later.

Triesman’s accusation could hardly come at worse time for Worawi, who last week made a controversial decision to call off the scheduled election for the FAT’s new president.

Worawi, who is currently in Qatar to meet with Mohamed Bin Hammam, the president of the Asian Football Confederation, gave a telephone interview with Reuters, saying Triesman’s claim was untrue.

“I have never discussed with Lord Triesman the issue of TV rightsl If the match takes place, FIFA regulations will apply.”

Worawi maintained his stance on the issue when speaking with Thai media, saying he had nothing to do with the TV rights of the game.

“The rules stated clearly that there needed to be a company to take care of the business about TV rights. If not, there was still FIFA regulations to follow. Any individual has no right to acquire the TV right. I never asked him to get the TV rights.”

Worawi went on to question the timing of Triesman’s revelations which came only few weeks before the election for the head of the world football’s governing body.

“There will be a FIFA election on June 1. We’ve seen in the past that stories like these often came out during this period. I support my Asian fellow, Bin Hamman, to succeed Sepp Blatter this time. I don’t know whether this has something to do with what went on at the moment.”

Worawi also dismissed suggestions that the England fixture was part of the deal he had with the English FA in return for his support.

“If I got anything from the visit of the England team, I should do everything I could to ensure the game would go ahead as schuduled. But, I didn’t do anything after the cancellation of the game,” said Worawi, who further revealed he was preparing to take legal proceedings against Triesman.


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