England friendly falls foul of murky FIFA politics (11/01/2011)

Thai football fans' hopes of watching a star-studded England team in the flesh have been dashed, with the English FA officially cancelling the June trip to the Kingdom for a friendly against Thailand.

The glamour tie against Fabio Capello's side was put in doubt when England lost their bid to host the 2018 World Cup, though the June 7 fixture was already on the England team's calendar.

The cancellation has lent weight to speculation that the game was part of a deal by the English FA to secure the vote of Football Association of Thailand president Worawi Makudi, who also holds a seat on the 24member Fifa executive board.

With England suffering an embarrassing exit in the first round of voting with only two votes, one from their own representative, it seemed inevitable that the match would be called off.

Ongart Kohsinkha, the FAT general secretary, said yesterday that the English FA had sent of a letter explanation for the cancellation citing their players need for rest after exertions in the domestic league as well as the unavailability of young players.

"We'll talk with Bryan Robson [the Thailand coach] about what we will do in light of the England fixture being cancelled. We want to know whether he still wants a friendly game scheduled for his team during that time," said Ongart.

Source : http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2011/01/11/sports/England-friendly-falls-foul-of-murky-Fifa-politics-30146092.html