KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Worawi Makudi’s latest and definitive red card from the FIFA’s ethics chamber takes to 12 the List of Shame of men who voted on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and have since been disciplined by the world federation ethics committee or pursued by US justice over the FIFAGate scandal*.
Makudi, 64-year-old long-term supremo of the game in Thailand, finally lost his years-long struggle to elude football justice when he was suspended from the game for five years and fined 10,000 Swiss francs for “forgery and falsification” over domestic FA election documents.
He still has the right of appeal to the world federation itself and then, if in vain, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Makudi – often referred to in the Thai media as Bung Yee or Bang Yi – had been voted on to the FIFA exective committee orginally back in 1997, one year before Sepp Blatter succeeded Joao Havelange as president. He then spent 18 years as an immovable and highly influential Asian delegate.
Simultaneously he commanded Thai football, serving as the FAT’s general secretary from 1996 until 2007 when he became president.
Makudi’s most controversial involvement on the FIFA stage concerned the 2018-2022 World Cup bid process which saw host rights awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.
Shortly before the vote in December 2010 he had been linked to a gas deal between Thailand and Qatar shortly. Later he was 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.
Makudi failed in an attempt to sue Triesman over the allegation because the comments had been emitted within the scope of a House of Commons inquiry. Later Makudi complained to this writer that Triesman should have come out in public with his accusations “like a man instead of hiding behind parliamentary privilege.”
Otherwise, Makudi appeared to bear a charmed life within Blatter’s FIFA. He was always successful in fending off accusations, including one over alleged misuse of development funds.
However, the political landscape changed within the Asian Football Confederation after the life ban imposed on its Qatari president Mohamed bin Hammam in 2011 and his eventual replacement by Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
In November 2014 Makudi was re-elected contentiously as FAT president after a row over late reforms to the voting system. On that occasion Blatter’s FIFA had come to Makudi’s aid by warning the FAT of possible disciplinary consequences if it failed to approve the changes and go ahead with the election.
That was the last time Zurich came to his rescue.
Pursuit of support
In early 2015 Makudi travelled widely, including to Qatar as well as to Belfast as a member of FIFA’s International Board delegation, trying to prevent support ebbing away. In the April, however, AFC Congress voted to replace him as its east zone FIFA delegate by Malaysia’s Prince Abdullah, son of a former AFC president.
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 of documents in the FAT election.
That prompted FIFA ethics prosecutor Cornel Borbely to open inquiries which led, shortly before the re-run of the FAT election in October, to Makudi being suspended for 90 days pending the outcome of a formal investigation.
Internationally the ban went almost unnoticed, coming as it did only a week after similar ‘protective’ action against Blatter, FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke and UEFA president Michel Platini.
Makudi’s suspension was extended for a further 45 days while FIFA attention was still largely focused on the fall-out from the FIFAGate scandal in the Americas and Switzerland.
Not that this apparently prevented him seeking to influence events behind the scenes within the FAT. Hence, in February 2016, he was banned by the FIFA disciplinary committee for three months and fined 3,000 Swiss francs for breaching the previous ban.
Only in July 2016 did the adjudicatory chamber opened formal proceedings against Makudi whose eventual punishment was imposed not only for the unauthorised “forgery and falsification” of FAT statutes but for refusing to cooperate with the investigation.
Ethics committee statement:
** The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert, has banned Worawi Makudi, former President of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) and former FIFA Executive Committee member, for five years from all football-related activities on a national and international level.
The ban comes into force immediately.
The investigations against Mr Makudi were opened on 23 July 2015 and were conducted by Dr Cornel Borbély, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, following information that Mr Makudi had been convicted of forgery by the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court.
On 15 July 2016, the final report was transmitted to the adjudicatory chamber, which opened formal adjudicatory proceedings on 22 July 2016.
Due to the fact that Mr Makudi made alterations to the FAT Statutes without the approval of the FAT Congress, the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee found Mr Makudi guilty of forgery and falsification under art. 17 of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE).
In addition, Mr Makudi was found guilty of violating art. 41 of the FCE (Obligation of the parties to collaborate).
As a sanction, the adjudicatory chamber has banned Mr Makudi for five years from all football‑related activities (administrative, sports or any other) on a national and international level and imposed a fine of CHF 10,000.
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