Pattaya prepare to drop lawsuit to avoid sanction

Pattaya FC will withdraw its lawsuit against the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) today to prevent Fifa sanctions, according to their lawyer, Peemadej Amornsukon.

The FAT was scheduled to hold its congress on June 15 to consider changes to its electoral code to comply with Fifa statutes.

But the conference was cancelled after the court issued an injunction preventing the FAT considering the matter.

Fifa said in a letter to the FAT last week that Pattaya, who play in the fourth-tier Regional League, must withdraw its lawsuit by today or the country could face consequences.

The FAT must adopt its revised regulations to be in line with Fifa statutes and then hold an election for its president by Sept 30, the world football's governing body said.

Acting FAT president Worawi Makudi, whose third two-year term expired on June 16, has said the FAT must act according to Fifa rules.

But his opponents argue that an FAT presidential election must be held by mid-July as Thailand's sports law stipulates that an election of chief of a sporting organisation must be held within 30 days of the incumbent's term ending.

The lawsuit withdrawal is not likely to end the FAT election saga.

''We will withdraw the lawsuit on June 24 and it will be up to the FAT which move it is going to take next,'' Peemadej said.

Pattaya and their allies are gathering support of one-third of FAT member clubs to formally ask the FAT to organise its presidential election by using the current rules, the lawyer said.

If the FAT fails to arrange an election, then the group will ask the Sports Authority of Thailand to intervene.

According to Peemadej, if the FAT holds a meeting to push for changes to the number of voters in an FAT election, then Pattaya and other clubs will try to block the attempt.

He said Pattaya and its allies agreed to the FAT's proposed changes to its electoral regulations to comply with Fifa statutes except for the number of eligible voters. It would be 72, down from about 180 under the present regulations, as recommended by Fifa.

Worawi's opponents believe he would gain an upper hand in the election with 72 voters but Worawi argues that the number has been recommended by Fifa.

Former national team manager Virach Charnpanich and football fan Pinit Ngarmpring will challenge Worawi in the upcoming election.