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Apr 15, 2012

Thailand Premier League money managers quit amid corruption rumours








THAILAND - Siamsport says it is relinquishing its right to oversee Thailand Premier League's commercial benefits in the wake of allegations over irregularities in the financial management of the country's topflight league.

It said the decision was effective immediately.

The issue of irregularities came to light when Buriram United president Newin Chidchob raised questions over the league's financial management.

The authorities failed to come up with a clear answer, heightening public suspicion of financial irregularities.

That prompted Siamsport to come out fighting last week, explaining that they were appointed by the Football Association of Thailand to oversee the league's finances and insisting there was nothing untoward in their management.

The company, the country's biggest sports media firm, issued a statement yesterday:

"Following suspicion over the management of commercial benefits in the Thailand Premier League, Siamsport, as the body appointed by the FAT to oversee the matter, sought to clarify the matter but failed to stop people from questioning the issue. We subsequently decided to end our role with immediate effect.

"To prove that we are innocent of seeking any benefit in managing the league's finances, we are ready to disclose financial statements and clear up any doubt on April 20. We will be available to answer any questions and give more details about the issue on the day," the statement read.

Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president Worawi Makudi, widely known for his close relationship with Siamsport owners, admitted he was dismayed with the company's decision to withdraw.

"It's disappointing because we must accept that Siamsport has played a key role in the rapid growth of Thai football. They always provided strong assistance in the association's work.

"Siamsport's withdrawal probably means a major change. Let's see how much impact it will have on Thai football," said Worawi.

Ongart Kohsinkha, the FAT general secretary, said the organisation would consider an auction to find a replacement for Siamsport.

"The withdrawal of Siamsport will not affect the association. The right to oversee the financial benefits will return to us. We are considering whether to conduct an auction to find someone to take over from Siamsport, or whether to take care of the matter ourselves," said Ongart.
http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20120412-339204.html

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