Fifa removes FAT executive committee

Fifa removes FAT executive committee

Former Fifa executive committee member Worawi Makudi greets supporters following a court hearing in Bangkok in May. (Reuters photo)
Former Fifa executive committee member Worawi Makudi greets supporters following a court hearing in Bangkok in May. (Reuters photo)

BERNE — Fifa removed the entire executive committee of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) on Friday, four days after suspending its president Worawi Makudi pending an ethics investigation by the sport's governing body.

Fifa said it had put in place a "normalisation committee" to oversee the election of a new executive committee by Feb 16 "at the latest".

"The Fifa Emergency Committee has decided ... to remove the executive committee of the Football Association of Thailand from office and to appoint a normalisation committee in its place," it said in a statement.

Mr Worawi, who had been the FAT president since 2007, was provisionally banned for 90 days on Monday over a possible breach of Fifa's code of ethics. Fifa has not specified what breaches were involved, but earlier news reports said Mr Worawi may have sought favours in return for supporting Qatar's World Cup bid. He has denied all allegations.

The 63-year-old, who was on the Fifa executive committee in December 2010 when it voted to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar, will now face a formal investigation by the sport's global governing body.

Mr Worawi was due to stand for re-election as FAT president on Saturday against former national team manager Vanasthana Sajakul and regional police chief Pisan Jundilok, and was considered the favourite.

He won the FAT election two years ago against Virach Chanpanich amid controversy. In July a Thai court gave Mr Worawi a suspended 16-month sentence for falsifying documents to amend the FAT statutes ahead of the vote.

This week's election was postponed following his suspension.

"The FAT executive committee's mandate had come to an end after the FAT elections previously scheduled to take place on 17 October 2015 were postponed," said Fifa.

Fifa said the normalisation committee would also oversee the revision of the FAT electoral code.

Thailand, which has never qualified for the World Cup and is 145th in the Fifa rankings, is currently at the top of Group F in the second round of the Asian qualifying competition for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Fifa has come under intense pressure to clean up its act globally, with criminal investigations by US and European authorities continuing. President Sepp Blatter has been suspended following demands from global sponsors including Coca-Cola, Visa and McDonald's for action.

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