BANGKOK: Worawi Makudi’s bid to cling on, with McQuaid-like tenacity, to the presidency of the Football Association of Thailand has been cast back into question writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

On Thursday it appeared, after months of wrangling over disputed voting reforms, that the FIFA executive committee member had won a long-delayed presidential election.

However a five-member commission which had been entrusting with monitoring the ballot has refused to approve Makudi’s victory over former national team manager Virach Charnpanich, a long-time critic and rival.

Makudi won 42-28 in an election from which most clubs had been disqualified from voting by electoral process alterations.

Three members of the commission were not convinced with the eligibility of all the voters and felt that the election was not clean, local media reported on Saturday.

One club was disqualified from the election while there was another ‘no vote’.

Chanin Kaenhirun, a member of the commission, said: “As someone who has conducted elections, both nationally and locally, for four years, I found it difficult to approve the result yesterday. We had a case in which people were taking the place of the clubs’ representatives.”

Appeals panel

Virach had appointed three members of the commission while Worawi chose three for the five-member appeal panel as part of a pre-election understanding.

“On the eve of the poll, we held a hearing for those clubs in dispute over voting rights and made a ruling on each case. Our decision was based on FIFA criteria,” Chanin added.

“However, just a few hours before the election, the ‘new’ appeal panel decided to reverse our ruling without reasonable explanation.”

The dispute will now be subject to a final ruling from the Sports Authority of Thailand.