Worawi to contest for top FAT office

Worawi to contest for top FAT office

Ex-president plans to reinstate Kiatisak as coach

EYEING A COMEBACK: Worawi Makudi is expected to stand in next month's election for Football Association of Thailand president.
EYEING A COMEBACK: Worawi Makudi is expected to stand in next month's election for Football Association of Thailand president.

Former Football Association of Thailand president Worawi Makudi is making a return and will attempt to win back the top position of the national governing body of the sport, his close aide said on Saturday.

"Worawi has decided to stand in the upcoming election for president of the Football Association of Thailand," former FAT secretary-general Worawut Thongsringam said.

"Worawi can't stand seeing the fall of Thai football. He wants to see the national teams become successful like they were during his reign. He wants to make Thailand kings of Asean football again."

Incumbent FAT boss Somyot Poompunmuang's term ends next month and the organisation has set Feb 12 as the election date for a new president.

It remains unclear if Pol Gen Somyot will seek re-election.

If Worawi, 68, becomes FAT president again, he will bring back Kiatisak 'Zico' Senamuang to coach the national sides, according to Worawut.

Kiatisak is arguably the most successful coach of Thailand, having guided the War Elephants to win the Suzuki Cup, or the Southeast Asian championship, twice in 2014 and 2016.

Kiatisak also steered the U23 team to claim the SEA Games gold medal in 2013 and finish fourth at the 2014 Asian Games.

Worawi, who was FAT chief from 2007-2015, could not contest the previous FAT presidential election in 2016 because he was suspended by Fifa.

Somyot was voted FAT president in the 2016 polls with an easy win against Charnwit Phalajivin who was believed to be Worawi's proxy.

Last February, Worawi had his three-and-a-half-year ban by Fifa rescinded by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Worawi, also a former Fifa executive committee member, was suspended from all football-related activities in October 2015 for five years following his conviction for forgery in a Thai court and for failing to cooperate with a Fifa investigation.

His ban was cut by 18 months in 2018 after he took his case to Fifa's appeals committee.

He was cleared by the CAS of an ethics breach related to forgery and falsification, but was found in violation for failing to cooperate to a lesser degree than by Fifa instances.

A CAS panel instead issued a reprimand and halved his initial fine of 10,000 Swiss francs to 5,000.

Kiatisak, who is close to Worawi, quit as national team coach in 2017 and Somyot hired Serbia's Milovan Rajevac to replace the former Thailand forward.

Under Rajevac, Thailand failed in their defence of the Suzuki Cup title.

Rajevac was sacked during the 2019 Asian Cup and was succeeded by interim coach Sirisak Yodyardthai.

After an unsuccessful spell, Sirisak left and Somyot picked Akira Nishino to coach the Thai senior and U23 sides.

Under the Japanese, the senior team have had an unconvincing start to the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Nishino's U23 side suffered a first-round exit at the SEA Games last month although the young War Elephants were three-time defending champions.

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