FAT president admits 'biased refereeing' tarnishing image
Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president Pol Gen Somyot Poompunmuang has admitted that incidents of "biased refereeing" have dealt a damaging blow to the reputation of domestic competitions.
Addressing a meeting of Thai League Co yesterday, Somyot said it is unfortunate that the trend of "doing favours to certain teams and persons in exchange for personal gains" has continued, undermining efforts of the present administration to train and educate the local referees.
"We have reached a stage that even the local fans don't trust the Thai referees and it is hurting the image of our country," said the FAT president.
"I have been warding off calls to get foreign referees to officiate in important FA Cup and League Cup matches.
"As the chief of Thai football, it is my job to encourage the Thai referees and I would like to see them perform their duties in a befitting manner.
"The finals of the League Cup and FA Cup have been assigned to Thai referees and I hope that they would make the most of these opportunities and prove themselves."
A couple of Thai League 1 clubs, particularly SCG Muang Thong United, have complained about wayward officiating on several occasions this season.
Meanwhile, Muang Thong coach Totchtawan Sripan, whose team face Chiang Rai United in the League Cup final on Nov 22, has expressed relief that the Kirins have been assured of second place in Thai League 1, rendering their remaining two matches meaningless.
Totchawan, however, apologised for the lacklustre fashion in which Muang Thong, led by Thailand striker Teerasil Dangda, edged Chiang Rai 1-0 on Sunday night in their league battle.
He added: "We had to rotate players and it took its toll, and it turned out to be a difficult game for us."
The Kirins, after sealing the second spot in the top flight, have earned the right to participate in next year's AFC Champions League play-offs.