Thai Moslems want more pitches - 'not cable TV'

In the 'wilds' of southern Thailand, where people believe Islam first took root in Southeast Asia, central government plans to dish out cable TV with free English soccer to quell Moslem unrest continue to be rejected by locals.

"Everybody at the tea shop confesses to supporting either Liverpool or Manchester United and can reel off a list of top-flight players -- suggesting a slightly greater love of European soccer than they would like to admit," Reuters' Ed Cropley reports.

"Others in the south, where Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has inaugurated a youth football league, say sport can be a force for good, but argue that piping in cable TV is just a cheap, quick-fix solution.

"'It's a good idea in principle because the kids round here love football,' said Adun Abdullah, a food company executive who coaches youth soccer in his spare time. 'But the government just doesn't understand the situation. We already have lots of cable TV football. What we need are more and better pitches.'"

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