KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Thailand federation president Worawi Makudi has become the latest high-ranking football official slapped with a 90-day suspension by the FIFA ethics committee.
Last week FIFA president Sepp Blatter and secretary-general Jerome Valcke as well as UEFA leader Michel Platini were made subject subject to similar suspensions pending full investigations of their various cases.
Makudi, president of the Football Association of Thailand, spent 18 years as an Asian delegate to the executive committee of the world federation until being voted off earlier this year. He has indicated that he will appeal.
A statement from the ethics committee did not specify the substantive reason for an investigation.
Speculation in Bangkok suggested a connection either to events during the controversial 2018-2022 World Cup bid process or a criminal court conviction earlier this year.
Makudi was a member of the FIFA exco which voted for Russia and Qatar as respective hosts.
He was linked to a gas deal between Thailand and Qatar shortly before the vote in in December 2010. Later he was also accused by former England 2018 bid chairman Lord David Triesman of having demanded television rights to a friendly between England and Thailand in return for his vote.
He failed in an attempt to sue Triesman over the allegation because the comments had been during a Commons inquiry and hence with the protection of parliamentary privilege. The match had been cancelled after England’s failure to win 2018 host rights the match.
Makudi, 63, was voted on to the FIFA exco orginally back in 1997, one year before Sepp Blatter succeeded Joao Havelange as president. However this past April, the congress of the Asian Football Confederation voted to replace him as its east zone FIFA delegate by Malaysia’s Prince Abdullah, son of a former AFC president.
Suspended jail term
For some time Makudi had feared the worst and had travelled widely, including to Qatar as well as to Belfast this past spring as a member of the FIFA delegation to the International Board annual meeting in pursuit of support.
All proved in vain at the AFC election in Bahrain when he received only 13 votes compared with Prince Abdullah’s 25.
In July Makudi’s year went from bad to worse when he was handed a 16-month suspended jail term and a $75 fine in Bangkok for electoral fraud concerning the falsifying documents in the presidential election which had seen his re-election in October 2013.
The election is due to be re-run on Saturday (Oct. 17) with Makudi being challenged by former national team manager Vanasthana Sajakul and regional police chief Pisan Jundilok.
Makudi has been president ever since stepping up from the role of FAT’s general secretary which he held from 1996 until 2007. His career has been marked by a series of scandals but, until now, he had always fended off accusations, including one over alleged misuse of FIFA development funds.
Ethics committee statement
The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert, has suspended Worawi Makudi, the President of The Football Association of Thailand and a former member of the FIFA Executive Committee, from all football activities at national and international level for 90 days. The ban is effective immediately.
The decision was taken pursuant to the FIFA Code of Ethics art. 83 par. 1, on the grounds that a breach of the Code of Ethics appears to have been committed and a decision on the main issue may not be taken early enough. This decision against Worawi Makudi followed a request from the chairman of the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee, Dr Cornel Borbély. The case is now the subject of formal investigation proceedings.