Goalie Soponwit, Thirapak banned

Goalie Soponwit, Thirapak banned

FAT also punishes 3 SEA Games officials

The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) yesterday handed out bans to two players, two officials and a coach over the brawls that marred the men's final at the SEA Games.

Indonesia beat Thailand 5-2 after extra time in Phnom Penh last week but the match degenerated into violence as players and staff from both sides clashed on the touchline.

Three Thai and one Indonesian players were sent off.

The FAT had apologised and promised a swift investigation by a panel chaired by Lt Pol Gen Amnuay Nimmano, and yesterday announced a one-year ban from the national team for goalkeeping coach Prasobchoke Chokemoh and team officials Mayeed Mudhadum and Pattrawut Wongsripuek.

"The fact-finding team agreed unanimously that as adults, the goalkeeping coach and team officials should be mature enough to control the situation and set a good example for the players, who are aged under 22," the FAT said in a statement.

"They should not lead or take part in the incident."

Men's football at the biennial SEA Games is for U22 players.

Goalkeeper Soponwit Rakyart, who was red carded after he ran half the length of the pitch to deliver a diving punch, was banned from the national team for six months.

Substitute Thirapak Prueangna was also given a six-month suspension.

"While they took part in the incident, they were under match pressure and have apologised, and they are young, these are reasons to decrease their penalty," the FAT said.

Separately, Thai League 1 champions Buriram United yesterday suspended their midfielder Thirapak for six months without pay.

Indonesia went into the final hoping to restore pride following a deadly stadium disaster and the loss of hosting the U20 World Cup.

But the match will be remembered for the chaotic scenes that erupted in the 97th minute when Thailand, who had been 2-0 down, scored to make it 2-2 and force extra time.

Thai officials celebrated by running over to the Indonesia bench, prompting the first melee, and there was more trouble when Indonesia retook the lead early in extra time.

It is Indonesia's only third gold medal in the event since the Games were launched in 1959.

The other victories came in 1987 on home soil and in 1991 in the Philippines.

Thailand remain the most successful nation in the men's football competition with 16 titles.

But the War Elephants have failed to win gold for three consecutive SEA Games.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has said it will investigate "acts of violence" during the match. Bangkok Post/AFP

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