Somyot scores a landslide victory

Somyot scores a landslide victory

Worawi claims FAT polls unfair, protests

Somyot Poompunmuang gestures after being re-elected as FAT president on Wednesday. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Somyot Poompunmuang gestures after being re-elected as FAT president on Wednesday. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Somyot Poompunmuang secured his second term as president of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) after a comfortable win in Wednesday's election.

Pol Gen Somyot, who will be in office for another four years, received 51 votes from 69 voters while Pinyo Niroj, the only other candidate in the polls, got 17 votes. One ballot was invalid.

But while Nakhon Sawan MP Pinyo accepted defeat, former FAT chief Worawi Makudi, who was barred from contesting the election, would not accept Somyot's victory.

Worawi, who as president of Thai-Union Samut Sakhon FC was an eligible voter, promptly submitted a hand-written letter to a Fifa representative at a Bangkok hotel, the venue of the election.

"The election was not fair and lacked transparency. It had a lot of problems," Worawi told reporters after the result was announced.

He said several voters had only letters of authority, and not appointment letters, from their clubs. "This is against the FAT regulations," he claimed.

He also promised to bring the matter to Thai courts and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In the letter to Fifa, Worawi wrote: "I ... kindly request you to take control of the documents of the voters ... many of them had proxy documents which are not permitted to vote in the FAT extraordinary congress today according to .... the FAT Statutes.

"I therefore file a complaint against this breach of the FAT Statutes and request you to take full control of the voters' documents from the FAT before the FAT manipulate all the voters' documents."

Ex-FAT chief Worawi Makudi.

Earlier, Worawi raised questions about some voters' eligibility and FAT secretary-general Korrawee Prissananantakul, who chaired yesterday's gathering, said they had the necessary papers.

Amid chaotic scenes, reporters were asked to leave the room. Representatives from Fifa, the Asian Football Confederation and the Asean Football Federation were at the venue as observers.

The FAT disqualified Worawi, 68, from standing in yesterday's election because he is being sued by the organisation and was once suspended by Fifa.

The decision received the backing of the Sports Authority of Thailand which looked into the issue after receiving Worawi's complaint.

Worawi, who was FAT president from 2007-2015, reiterated yesterday that this was unfair.

Worawi, also a former Fifa executive member, could not contest the previous FAT presidential election in 2016 because he was at that time suspended from all football-related activities by Fifa.

Without Worawi, Somyot was comfortably elected as FAT president.

After yesterday's triumph, Somyot, 65, said Worawi had the right to lodge complaints or file lawsuits. "We are ready to offer our explanations," said the former national police chief.

He added: "The first four years was a difficult time. It was like we bought an old house and renovated it.

"We are determined to take Thai football forward. I have selected capable people to work with me. Although the task is not easy, we will work together. We need help from all parties, including football fans."

Meanwhile, the new Thai League 1 season kicks off tomorrow with champions Chiang Rai United travelling to Samut Prakan City.

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