Thai fans urge junta to boot out FA chief

Tens of thousands of football fans have signed a letter urging Thailand`s junta to kick out the nation`s controversial soccer chief, one of the organisers of the petition said Tuesday.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 09, 2014, 18:30 PM IST
Thai fans urge junta to boot out FA chief

Bangkok: Tens of thousands of football fans have signed a letter urging Thailand`s junta to kick out the nation`s controversial soccer chief, one of the organisers of the petition said Tuesday.

During his seven-year tenure as president of the Football Association of Thailand, Worawi Makudi has survived a series of scandals and been re-elected three times to remain at the heart of Asian football. 

On Monday a letter signed by 50,000 fans from across the country demanding Worawi`s removal was handed to the office of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha -- the army chief who took power in a May coup -- according to fans` representative Mongkol Santekuna.

Mongkol accused Worawi`s association of meting out unfair punishments to some teams and mismanaging the game in football-mad Thailand.

"Worawi and his people have been unfair throughout their time (in charge)," he said, adding: "We want the government to return happiness to Thai football fans." 

His comments echo Prayut`s mantra of "returning happiness to the Thai people" via a coup which he says was necessary to restore law and order and weed out corruption across society.

"We want him (Worawi) to know how much we hate him," said Mongkol. 

Thai football has seen a number of disciplinary actions in recent weeks.

Thai Premier League heavyweights Buriram FC were banned from playing in their own stadium for one game after fans held up a sign criticising the referee.

"I do not know why they do not like me," Worawi told AFP on Tuesday.

"They are my opponents... so they want to damage my reputation as much as they can," he said, adding: "I have already brought happiness." 

Worawi has emerged unscathed from a series of probes and remains a highly influential figure. 

He has faced down fraud allegations made by a South Korean firm in connection with the early cancellation of a multi-million-dollar deal for broadcast rights to Thai football.

In 2011 he was cleared after accusations that funds meant for the Thai FA to build facilities were instead spent on building assets on land he owned in Bangkok.

He has also been cleared of involvement in a scandal concerning bribes for officials from world governing body FIFA.