Thailand facing Olympic ban (03/05/2011)

Thailand have been booted out from the Olympic qualifying round for fielding an ineligible player, the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) confirmed yesterday.

Thailand defeated Palestine 5-4 on penalties in the first qualifying round for the 2012 Olympics after the Thais won 1-0 in Bangkok and Palestine triumphed by the same scoreline in the return leg in the West Bank.

Thailand were scheduled to meet Bahrain in the second qualifying round but the media in that country reported last week that Bahrain were preparing to face Palestine instead of Thailand.

The reports said the Thais were eliminated from the competition by the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Disciplinary Committee because they introduced a suspended player in the first leg against Palestine.

FAT secretary-general Ong-art Korsinkha confirmed yesterday that the AFC had informed the FAT that Thailand were eliminated from the Olympic qualifying round for fielding Sucharit Chanthakul against Palestine in Bangkok."We have been formally informed by the AFC about the matter," Ong-art said.

Sucharit faced suspension during the U19 Asian Championship in 2008 and according to the AFC he had not yet served the ban before the Olympic qualifying match.

Ong-art argued that Sucharit was in the Thai squad at last year's Asian Games but did not play and this could mean that he had already served his suspension.

Also, the match commissioner at the Bangkok game should have informed Thailand during the pre-match meeting that Sucharit was ineligible, he said.

"We are appealing," Ong-art said.

He said FAT president Worawi Makudi was in talks with AFC president Mohamed bin Hammam .

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