Former police chief wins Thai FA presidency

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Somyot Poompanmoung

A colourful ex-police chief backed by Leicester City’s billionaire owners was elected on Thursday (Feb 11) as president of the embattled Football Association of , in a vote prompted by the suspension of the scandal-mired former boss.

Somyot Poompanmoung, the colourful ex-head Thailand’s police, scooped up 62 of the available 72 votes from football clubs and officials, according to an AFP reporter.

He was the frontrunner in a rowdy and often acrimonious campaign that brought to light massive public discontent with the game’s administrators in the football-mad country.

Somyot, 61, was supported by a number of big Thai football clubs as well as his friend Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the billionaire owner of table-topping English Premier League outfit Leicester.

He will succeed Worawi Makudi, a former FIFA insider and Thai football’s Teflon man who for years fended off endless scandals with lawsuits and bravado.

Worawi, a FIFA executive committee member for 18 years until last May, could not run in Thursday’s election after being suspended by the game’s governing body over an alleged breach of its ethical code. He denies any wrongdoing.

Instead Worawi is widely believed to have backed former Thai national team coach Charnvit Pholchivin, who on the big day received just four votes.

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