Aus­tralia’s World Cup hopes wait on fate of Thai grief

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

AUS­TRALIA could play their World Cup qual­i­fier against Thai­land on neu­tral ter­ri­tory if ef­forts fail to keep the match in Bangkok fol­low­ing the death of King Bhu­mi­bol, Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion Aus­tralia said yes­ter­day.

The venue for the Novem­ber 15 match has been in limbo since the world’s long­est-reign­ing monarch died on Oc­to­ber 13 at the age of 88 af­ter years of ill health, plung­ing Thai­land into mourn­ing.

Bhu­mi­bol’s death prompted the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Thai­land (FAT) to ask FFA if the match could be moved or post­poned.

FFA chief ex­ec­u­tive David Gal­lop said there were en­cour­ag­ing signs the match would take place as planned, al­though Kuala Lumpur or Sin­ga­pore were op­tions.

“It does look en­cour­ag­ing,” Gal­lop told re­porters. “We’re hope­ful the game will now be locked into Bangkok.

“Talks be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the Thai foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion we un­der­stand are hap­pen­ing to­day.

“Thai foot­ball fans will want to see their team play. Ob­vi­ously our con­do­lences to the fam­ily [of the king] and the whole coun­try, but we’re hope­ful the Soc­ceroos match will go ahead now in Bangkok.”

Thai­land has be­gun a year of mourn­ing and the gov­ern­ment has asked peo­ple to “re­frain from fes­tiv­i­ties” for a 30day pe­riod, which ends just be­fore the Soc­ceroos are due to face Thai­land.

Aus­tralia are cur­rently sec­ond in Group B of fi­nal Asian qual­i­fy­ing for a place at Rus­sia 2018, while Thai­land have yet to earn a point af­ter four games.

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