fa.thaiThe Football Association of Thailand on Tuesday said it would postpone this weekend’s election of a new chief, a day after the incumbent Worawi Makudi was suspended by a FIFA ethics probe.

Worawi was widely tipped to retain his position at the helm of a game that he has dominated in Thailand for several years, but on Monday a FIFA’s ethics watchdog banned him from all football-related activities for 90 days “on the grounds that a breach of the Code of Ethics appears to have been committed”.

The association was ordered to “postpone the election of a chairman, deputy chairman and members, which was due to take place on October 17”, pending further investigation by FIFA, Football Association of Thailand (FAT) lawyer Narinpong Jinapak said in a statement.

The election delay follows meetings with a FIFA delegation in Thailand in a pre-planned visit to probe the controversy-mired Thai football chief, who has played a major role in Thai football and inside the top echelons of FIFA.

The 63-year-old was found guilty in July by a Thai court of forgery in his reelection as head of FAT — a ruling he denies and is appealing.

Worawi was also a FIFA executive committee member for 18 years until May — including for its 2010 vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups — and has faced multiple allegations of wrongdoing. 

But he has so far faced down his critics despite the numerous court cases against him.

Worawi could not be immediately reached for comment.

But late Monday he told AFP he would fight to clear his name.

“I am not guilty of anything. Under Thai law I still have the right to appeal (the July court decision). I did not falsify anything, what I did was absolutely legal,” he said.

His ban follows matching suspensions handed out to embattled outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter and European football boss Michel Platini last Thursday. – Agence France-Presse

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