Fans demand urgent FAT election (18/05/2011)

Fans gathered outside Supachalasai stadium yesterday to demand that the Football Association of Thailand urgently organise an election for its president .

The demonstrators, led by Silawat Srisawad, Pipat Waramethpipat and Pinit Ngarmpring, said they were not trying to force Worawi Makudi to quit as FAT president but only wanted to see Thai football make progress.

About 100 people joined the protest. The group launched their campaign against the FAT after Thailand were eliminated in the first round of the Suzuki Cup late last year.

It was one of the country's poor results on the international stage in recent years.

An election for FAT chief was originally scheduled on May 6 but it was called off by Worawi and other FAT executive board members.

Worawi said the election was called off because some member clubs were represented by more than one voter, amid reports that he could be defeated by former national team manager Virach Chanpanich in the poll.

Silawat said they staged the protest to show that a lot of fans are not satisfied with Worawi's administration.

"We can't remain silent. We want to see Thai football move forward," he said.

Pinit said an FAT election must be held as soon as possible in a transparent manner. "We are ready to support anyone who is elected. If Worawi is re-elected, then we will give him a chance. But if the national team's results remain bad, then we will come back," he said.

Worawi is fighting in several battles at home and abroad. On Monday, he announced that he had hired lawyers to take legal action against former English Football chairman David Triesman for making bribery claims.

Triesman said last week that Worawi, who is a Fifa executive member, had asked for the TV rights of a proposed friendly between Thailand and England in return for his vote for England's 2018 World Cup bid.

The match was originally scheduled for this year but was called off after England's disastrous World Cup bid.

Also last week, the Sports Authority of Thailand said Worawi was no longer FAT president because his term ended on Dec 31 and he could only serve as acting president for 90 days after that.

In another issue, Thailand were booted out from the current Olympic qualifying for fielding a suspended player in a previous match.

Worawi has postponed a press conference to offer his explanations on various issues from today to Friday .

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