ZURICH (Reuters) - Former FIFA executive committee member Worawi Makudi, the current head of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT), has been suspended for 90 days pending a full investigation, the ethics committee of soccer’s governing body said on Monday.
Worawi, who was on the 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, the ethics committee said in a statement.
“The decision was taken... on the grounds that a breach of the Code of Ethics appears to have been committed and a decision on the main issue may not be taken early enough,” said the statement.
“The case is now the subject of formal investigation proceedings.”
The 63-year-old 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 Virach 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.
Last week, South Korean Chung Mong-joon, who also sat on the executive committee in 2010, was banned for six years, while Jack Warner, another member of the committee at the time, was banned for life on September 29.
Switzerland’s attorney-general has opened an investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, which was also the subject of a FIFA ethics probe conducted by former chief ethics investigator Michael Garcia.
Garcia’s report has not been made public but a summary by FIFA’s ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert said there was not enough evidence to award a re-vote.
FIFA has been in turmoil since May 27 when 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives were indicted in the United States as part of a criminal investigation into the allocation of media, marketing and sponsorship rights for soccer tournaments.
On Thursday, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini were handed 90-day suspensions pending a formal investigation.
The probe followed reports of a payment of two million Swiss francs ($2.1 million) from FIFA to Platini in 2011, nine years after he completed a spell working for Blatter as an adviser.
Worawi had been on the FIFA executive committee for 18 years as one of the Asian Football Confederation’s representatives until he was voted off earlier this year.
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Richard Balmforth