Drama as FAT election is called off (07/05/2011)

Thai football was hit by another huge blow yesterday when the election for president of the Football Association of Thailand was postponed .

The FAT claimed it postponed the election because many member clubs had more than one representative while some voters did not have proper ID cards.

However, it was speculated that the postponement might have been prompted by incumbent FAT president Worawi Makudi facing a possible defeat in the poll.

Worawi and Pichate Munkong were the only two candidates but former national team manager Virach Chanpanich was likely to be nominated as a third candidate.

It was reported that Virach received the backing of Worawi's predecessor Vijitr Getkaew who is believed to have around 60-80 votes under his wings.

Former Thai Port FC chairman Pichate, who said he was supported by some 30 voters, reportedly asked his supporters to vote for Virach.

There are 173 eligible voters who include 19 FAT executives. Worawi is believed to have around 30-40 under his control.

The election at the National Football Training Centre in Nong Chok became chaotic when Ittipol Burananin claimed he represented Sumran Dangthongdee, chairman of Tapanhin football club, who he said was hospitalised

However, another person then showed up and said he was the club's chairman. It was also found that some member clubs had more than one representative prompting the FAT executive board to postpone the election.

"The FAT executive board has decided to postpone the election to ensure that the election will be fair and transparent. We will arrange a new date as soon as possible," Worawi said.

It is expected that the election will be held later this month as Worawi, who is a Fifa executive member, will leave for a Fifa meeting next week.

Nattavuth Ruengves, representative of the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) at yesterday's election, said the FAT must formally explain to the SAT why it postponed the poll.

"They must give us a proper reason before setting a new date for the FAT election," he said.

Virach, who is an FAT executive, said he felt sorry for all concerned parties.

He said if he was nominated as a candidate in the re-arranged election he would not turn it down.

"I am ready to be a candidate," he said.

He said he had a number of achievements while he was manager of the national team.

He guided Thailand from outside the top 100 in the world rankings to No 41 and helped the Kingdom win five SEA Games titles, among other achievements.

"I am ready to help Thai football and want to make our dream come true," he said.

Yesterday's problem was one in a series of setbacks during Worawi's reign.

It came just days after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced that Thailand were eliminated from the current 2012 Olympic qualifying round for fielding a suspended player in the opening round of the qualifying.

Earlier this year, a group of fans staged protests to demand that Worawi resign as FAT president following poor performances by both the full national team and U23 sides.

Yesterday's setback was strongly criticised by fans on popular websites with Worawi the main target.

"Shame on you Worawi," said one .