Vijitr steps down as football boss (March 09, 2007)

Supremo cites 'too much pressure'


The president of the Thai Football Association, Vijitr Getkaew, resigned yesterday saying he could not handle the pressure of the job any more. Vijitr, who has held the post for more than 10 years, will remain acting president until an election is held on March 18th.

In his resignation letter, Vijitr said he was fed up with the pressure and conflicts and hoped his departure would help restructure the FAT.

The FAT's honorary chairman Chaiyapak Siriwat said he was surprised at Vijitr's resignation.

''I've just talked to him on the phone and he said the pressure had got to him. It is quite sudden, as a few days ago we discussed the preparations for the Asian Cup and he gave no indication he was planning to quit,'' Chaiyapak said.

He said he did not want Vijitr to leave, nor did secretary-general of the FAT, Worawi Makudi.

''But it is his decision,'' he said.

Chaiyapak and Worawi are expected to be among the candidates for the vacant post.

Chaiyapak said the resignation would not affect the hosting of the Asian Cup. ''We have lots of people working on that,'' he said.

Thailand is co-hosting the Asian Cup from July 7 to 29, along with Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Vijitr's resignation was welcomed on the Cheer Thai website.

''I want to thank Vijitr for resigning,'' wrote Pinit Ngarm-pring, chairman of Cheer Thai. ''While Thailand became the kings of football in the Asean region during his time, they have not moved up into being a top Asian side. Professional football in Thailand has not developed at all.''

Pinit said Thai fans must wait and see who takes over from Vijitr. ''If it's someone from the new generation it might help the FAT to progress with a better management system,'' he said.

Vijitr was named president in 1996 after the president at that time, Pol Lt-Gen Chalor Kerdthes, was arrested for murder in connection with the the Saudi gems scandal.

It has been an eventful time recently for the FAT. Head coach Chanvit Phalajivin announced he was quitting to go and join a Vietnamese club side.

But last week Chanvit made a dramatic U-turn and agreed to continue with the Thai national team.

In recent years Thailand has achieved only moderate success in major football tournaments and has not made the progress many had hoped a few years ago.

Many Thai players are now with clubs in Singapore and Vietnam where the professional leagues appear to be better organised and more financially rewarding.