June 21, 2013 00:00 By Kitinan Sanguansak The Nation
Despite facing death threats, Pattaya FC officials are insisting that they will not withdraw a lawsuit against the Football Association of Thailand as demanded by Fifa, saying they are simply exercising their rights within the law to protect the club's in
The fourth-tier club forced the cancellation of an FAT meeting on Saturday after successfully securing an injunction that prevented the association’s plan to seek approval for a revision to its regulations in line with new Fifa statutes.
World soccer’s governing body, though, deemed the Thai club’s court move as a breach of its rules and threatened to suspend the Thai FA’s membership should Pattaya fail to drop its case against the association by this coming Monday.
Pattaya feared that the amendment to Thai FA rules would effectively cut the number of members eligible to vote in the impending poll for a new president, with incumbent president Worawi Makadi’s third-consecutive two-year mandate having expired on Sunday.
Pattaya FC president Natthaphol Panyakhananukul has refused to budge on his stance despite facing pressure in the form of death threats via telephone and messages.
“We will certainly not drop the case, because Fifa itself has no right to suspend the country. It needs to refer the case to its Emergency Committee first and then bring it to the general assembly for consideration.
“They would need a three-quarters majority of 209 member countries to secure any resolution on the matter. So it’s time to stop trying to trick Thai fans and insulting our own people.”
Natthaphol explained that he was simply acting in the best interests of the club, which he was entitled to do legally.
“Although we have withdrawn our suit against Worawi, who we consider can no longer legitimately run the organisation following the expiry of his mandate, we have not dropped the case against the association yet. I have received a number of death threats by phone and message.
“It doesn’t frighten me. I believe what I did is the right thing, as we need to protect our rights as a member of the FAT. I have kept those [death threat] phone numbers and messages for the police. I believed the threats are prompted by our case against the FAT.
“We only asked the court to prevent the vote to approve the association’s new regulations. We don’t have other agendas,” said Natthaphol, whose club was understood to be one of those set to lose its voting right had the association adopted its revised regulations.
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