Thursday, October 19, 2006

AFC gives Thailand 90-day deadline on Asian Cup

The Asian Football Confederation has given Asian Cup 2007 co-host Thailand a 90-day deadline to improve stadium facilities and prove their commitment as a hosts of Asia's most prestigious and important football competition. The decision to place a 15 January 2007 deadline was taken after a high-level AFC delegation led by AFC General Secretary, Dato Peter Velappan, visited Bangkok’s Rajamangala and Supachalasai stadiums. In a meeting with the Football Association of Thailand and government representatives, AFC made it clear that Thailand must meet the official stadia specifications required of an AFC Asian Cup host, in order to ensure the success of the competition. The areas of concern include not only the playing and media facilities at both stadiums but also the lack of promotion and publicity undertaken by FAT and the Thai authorities.

This 90-day deadline however is dependent on FAT submitting specific documents by 15 November 2006 to demonstrate their renewed commitment to rectify the shortcomings. These documents must include legally binding agreement with the relevant third parties required to undertake the necessary facility renovations, promotional plans, and other commitments to deliver the requirements specified in the Organising Association Agreement. AFC will review the documents in detail and following the AFC Asian Cup Organising Committee meeting on 21 November 2006, and that Committee's subsequent recommendations to the AFC Executive Committee meeting on 23 November 2006, will make a decision on whether the 90-day deadline will be met by FAT.

“We know there has been a change of government and we accept that,” Dato Peter commented, "but it is important that Thailand respects our deadline.” According to AFCMedia, the Thai media has subsequently reported that the new Thai interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont pledged his full support to the AFC Asian Cup 2007 at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

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