Thai football chief Somyot Poompanmoung yesterday warned those involved in match-fixing to stop trying to manipulate the results of local league matches after being tipped off about an attempt to cheat last weekend.
The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president said a referee had informed him that he was persuaded by a former referee to help manipulate the result of a Thai League game over the weekend.
“Luckily, the referee who was contacted is a decent person. He turned down the offer and chose to bring the issue to me,” Somyot said at a press conference to launch the jersey designed especially for fans to support the national football team at The Emquartier yesterday.
“I’m warning the former referee and those with influence in football circles to stop their activities, which will only destroy Thai football,” Somyot said.
“I’m gathering evidence and I know who are involved with match-fixing. They will be brought to justice if they do not stop,” the Thai football boss warned.
Last year, Somyot and national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda launched a crackdown on matchfixing, leading to arrests of five Thai League players, two referees and one club executive. It was the first serious crackdown on cheating in Thai football history. Somyot said more names involved in result manipulation would be disclosed later.
Reacting to Buriram United chairman Newin Chidchob disagreeing with the FAT’s plan to send the national team for training to Austria in June, Somyot said he was open to hearing the opinion of all clubs and he did not seek conflict with anyone.
“My opinion is that training in Europe would bring a new dimension to the national team and at the same time provide them a great experience to play with the leading teams in Europe,” Somyot said.
“If certain clubs oppose the idea, I will be ready to discuss with them to find the best solution for all sides. Clubs play a significant role in developing Thai football. I won’t do anything that will affect their programmes,” Somyot added.
Newin had said earlier that he may not allow his players to join the national team for the Asian Games if they have to go for training to Austria, as it would affect Thai League games and leave them exhausted.
Meanwhile, FAT and Chang, the official sponsor of the national football team launched the official jerseys No 12, manufactured by Warrix, which is exclusive only for national team supporters. The shirts are available Bt590 per piece from today onwards.