FIFA's Worawi says he will sue over allegations

AP, Sunday 18 Sep 2011

FIFA executive committee member Worawi Makudi on Sunday threatened legal action over what he said was a false and defamatory report that football development funds were spent to build facilities on land he owns

Worawi
Worawi

Worawi, president of the Football Association of Thailand, said at a press conference that it was groundless to say he had spent $860,000 in grants on a football training facility and a building on land he owned in Bangkok.

He said the information originated in an anonymous letter sent to the German press.

"There have been attempts to defame my reputation via website and anonymous letter which have been sent to the German press. My legal advisory team is gathering information and we will take legal action on this," he said.

The allegations were reprinted last week in the Thai press. He responded by saying that the land had been transferred to the Football Association he heads.

Worawi earlier this year denied a separate allegation that he sought broadcasting rights for a possible Thailand vs.

England friendly in return for a vote for England to host the 2014 World Cup. He said he was pursuing legal remedies in that case as well.

The 59-year-old official has been a member of FIFA's executive committee for 14 years and is a close ally of Mohamed bin Hammam, who was banned for life by the governing body's ethics panel in July over alleged election bribery.

Worawi could face his own ethics probe if FIFA believes he might have broken article 5 of the code relating to conflicts of interest.

"Private or personal interests include gaining any possible advantage for himself, his family, relatives, friends and acquaintances," the code states.

The FIFA Goal project allocates millions of dollars each year to fund the sport in less-developed football nations.

It was created by FIFA President Sepp Blatter in 1999, and the committee allocating funds was chaired since then by bin Hammam.

Thailand got the maximum $400,000 grant twice within a four-year period to develop its national center.

It also used $60,000 of its annual $250,000 grant, which all FIFA members receive, toward the artificial turf pitch project. Blatter officially opened it in September 2009.

Worawi has already been quizzed by FIFA investigators as a witness in the bin Hammam investigation.

He accompanied the Qatari to Trinidad in May when Caribbean officials were allegedly offered $40,000 in cash to back a challenge for the FIFA presidency.

On Thursday, FIFA turned down bin Hammam's appeal against his life ban. He said he would take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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