BANGKOK (Reuters) - The former head of Thailand’s football association (FAT), Worawi Makudi, will seek to have his five-year FIFA ban overturned after he was declared not guilty of forgery and falsification by an appeals court, according to local media reports.
Worawi received the ban from FIFA’s ethics committee in October 2016 after the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court handed him a suspended 16-month prison sentence in 2015 for altering documents ahead of the 2013 FAT presidential election.
With his conviction quashed by the appeals court on Friday, Worawi’s lawyer Narinpong Jinapak told Thai media his client would seek to have his global football ban overturned.
“It has been proven that Worawi Makudi, the former president of the Football Association of Thailand, is not guilty as charged. He is clean,” Narinpong told a news conference.
“He told me after learning of the court ruling that he is very happy.”
According to Bangkok Post, Worawi’s lawyer said he would ask FIFA to lift the ban, with the possibility of taking the case of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if the request was unsuccessful.
FIFA’s ethics committee originally opened an investigation into Worawi in July 2015 after he had been convicted of forgery. In addition to the five-year ban from all football activities, which was handed down in October 2015, he was also fined 10,000 Swiss francs.
He was succeeded as head of the FAT in February 2016 by former police chief Somyot Poompanmuang and was banned again soon after for failing to respect the earlier suspension.
The 65-year-old, who was on the FIFA executive committee that voted to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar, had been an Asian Football Confederation representative on the committee for 18 years until he was voted off in 2015.
Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Amlan Chakraborty