Worawi vows to stay on as FAT chief (10/12/2010)

A bullish Worawi Makudi has sent a clear message to his critics - he will stay on as president of the Football Association of Thailand.

"I am still the (Thai) football association president and will not quit," he said in an interview on TV Channel 3 yesterday.

Following the national team's early exit at the Suzuki Cup in Jakarta this week, local fans have called on Worawi to step down to shoulder responsibility for the failure and will organise a protest tomorrow in a show of force to oust him.

The Thais failed to progress to the semi-finals from Group A of the Asean championship after draws with Laos and Malaysia and defeat against Indonesia.

Worawi said everybody is entitled to opinions and that he respects the fans' criticism. But he called on his opponents to sit down and talk with him.

"If they have good ideas about how to improve Thai football, then they should come and talk to me. It is useless to protest," he said.

He argued that anything can happen in football and said even the likes of title-holders Italy and former champions France were eliminated in the first round at the 2010 World Cup.

"Nobody was sacked. If you fire football administrators after your team's failure, then hundreds of administrators would be fired," Worawi said.

He said running a football organisation and coaching a football team are separate matters.

"As the association president, my duty is to support the national team. I do not intervene in the coach's job such as selecting players or tactics," he said.

"You can blame me if I do not give support to the national team."

Worawi said the national side had done their best at the Suzuki Cup and were unlucky that the referee did not award Thailand a penalty against Malaysia. The match ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

He said every Asean nation became stronger and wanted to beat Thailand so Thailand could not underestimate any team.

Fans also are upset that Thailand could only manage a scoreless draw with tiny Maldives at last month's Asian Games.

But Worawi said the team did well at the Asiad and reached the quarter-finals before being edged out 1-0 by eventual champions Japan.

Asked about congested fixtures in the final stretch of the domestic season, Worawi said many matches had been postponed due to political and weather problems.

Asked why the FAT introduced the League Cup in the year when Thailand had to play at the Asian Games and Suzuki Cup, Worawi said all Thai Premier League clubs agreed to the launch.

"Some clubs wanted extra money and the League Cup gave them more income," he said.

"My aim is not just to build a strong domestic league but also to build up a strong national team. This needs time."

Asked about the future of Bryan Robson, Worawi said he would remain as national coach.

"Our target is going to the World Cup. The qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup will start next year and Thailand's performance will determine Robson's future here," he said.

Source : http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/sports/210589/worawi-vows-to-stay-on-as-fat-chief