By Brian Homewood
BERNE (Reuters) - FIFA removed the entire executive committee of Thailand's football association (FAT) on Friday, four days after its president Worawi Makudi was suspended pending an ethics investigation by soccer's governing body.
FIFA said that it had put in place a so-called "normalization committee" to oversee the election of a new executive committee by Feb. 16 "at the latest".
"The FIFA Emergency Committee has decided...to remove the executive committee of the Football Association of Thailand from office and to appoint a normalization committee in its place," said soccer's governing body in a statement. Worawi, who had been FAT president since 2007, was provisionally banned for 90 days on Monday over a possible breach of FIFA's code of ethics. The 63-year-old, who was on the FIFA executive committee in December 2010 when it voted to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar, will now face a formal investigation by soccer's governing body. Worawi was due to stand for re-election as FAT president on Oct. 17 against former national team manager Vanasthana Sajakul and regional police chief Pisan Jundilok, and was considered the favorite. He won the FAT election two years ago against Viraj Chanpanich but, amid controversy, Worawi was given a suspended 16-month sentence by a Thai court in July for falsifying documents to amend the FAT statutes ahead of the vote. October's elections were postponed following his suspension. "The FAT executive committee’s mandate had come to an end after the FAT elections previously scheduled to take place on 17 October 2015 were postponed," said FIFA. FIFA said the normalization committee would also oversee the revision of the FAT’s electoral code. Thailand, who have never qualified for the World Cup and are 145th in the FIFA rankings, are top of Group F in the second round of the Asian qualifying competition for the 2018 tournament in Russia.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Toby Davis)