FAT to elect new president on Thursday

FAT to elect new president on Thursday

Madam Pang denies vote buying claims

From left Komkrit Napalai, Warong Thiuthas and Payurin 'Pauline' Ngarmpring. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
From left Komkrit Napalai, Warong Thiuthas and Payurin 'Pauline' Ngarmpring. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) will have a new president on Thursday, bringing an end to Pol Gen Somyot Poompunmuang's eight-year reign as the country's football chief.

Former national men's team manager Nualphan Lamsam is the overwhelming favourite to win Thursday's election at FAT headquarters in Bangkok's Hua Mark district.

The four other candidates vying to be the head of the national football governing body are Warong Thiuthas, Payurin 'Pauline' Ngarmpring, Thanasak Suraprasert and Komkrit Napalai.

A recent poll conducted by Kasem Bundit University (KBU) has installed Nualphan as the favourite to win Thursday's election, predicting she will receive more than 40 percent of the votes cast by the FAT member clubs.

Her closest rival is expected to be Pauline with 22.50 percent votes, followed by Warong Thiuthas (18.89 percent), Komkrit Napalai (10.20) and Thanasak Suraprasert (8.31).

Meanwhile, allegations of vote-buying targeting Nualphan have surfaced ahead of the polls, in which a total of 72 member clubs are entitled to cast ballot.

In a social media post late on Tuesday night, Nualphan, nicknamed "Madam Pang" by the Thai media, vehemently denied the claims.

"I have not paid anyone to buy vote and I assure you that no such payments will be made as it is something that is below the dignity of any presidential candidate," said Nualphan.

She also denied that she had intentionally sidestepped presidential debates.

"I had business commitments, but I travelled to meet representatives of the voting clubs across the country," added the former chairperson of Thai League 1 club Port.

"I know their concerns now.

"One of the major problems facing Thai football at the moment is the absence of a broadcasting rights holder for our leagues. We will have to tackle this issue on an urgent basis."

Thai League 1 has been without a broadcast rights holder this season, which has already completed its first leg.

AIS' two-year contract with the FAT ended last year, with the company paying the FAT about 400 million baht a year. During its peak, the FAT reportedly received more than one billion baht for the broadcast rights.

Warong has promised an injection of 1.124 billion baht into the Thai leagues if he is elected as the president of the association.

"Every club in our domestic leagues will have a better income within the next five years if I am given the chance to run the FAT," said Wariong recently.

Giving the breakdown of his payment plan, he said that the 16 Thai League 1 clubs will receive 50 million baht each, the second-tier team would be entitled to six million baht each and the third division sides would get three million baht each per season.

Former national team manager Nualphan Lamsam.

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