Worawi Makudi’s latest and definitive red card from the FIFA’s ethics chamber takes to 12 the List of Shame of men who voted on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and have since been disciplined by the world federation ethics committee or pursued by US justice over the FIFAGate scandal.
Makudi, 64-year-old long-term supremo of the game in Thailand, finally lost his years-long struggle to elude football justice when he was suspended from the game for five years and fined 10,000 Swiss francs for “forgery and falsification” over domestic FA election documents.
He still has the right of appeal to the world federation itself and then, if in vain, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Makudi – often referred to in the Thai media as Bung Yee or Bang Yi – had been voted on to the FIFA exective committee orginally back in 1997, one year before Sepp Blatter succeeded Joao Havelange as president. He then spent 18 years as an immovable and highly influential Asian delegate.
Simultaneously he commanded Thai football, serving as the FAT’s general secretary from 1996 until 2007 when he became president.
Makudi’s most controversial involvement on the FIFA stage concerned the 2018-2022 World Cup bid process which saw host rights awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.
Shortly before the vote in December 2010 he had been linked to a gas deal between Thailand and Qatar shortly. Later he was accused by former England 2018 bid chairman Lord David Triesman of having demanded television rights to a friendly between England and Thailand in return for his vote.
Makudi failed in an attempt to sue Triesman over the allegation because the comments had been emitted within the scope of a House of Commons inquiry. Later Makudi complained to this writer that Triesman should have come out in public with his accusations “like a man instead of hiding behind parliamentary privilege.”
Otherwise, Makudi appeared to bear a charmed life within Blatter’s FIFA. He was always successful in fending off accusations, including one over alleged misuse of development funds.
However, the political landscape changed within the Asian Football Confederation after the life ban imposed on its Qatari president Mohamed bin Hammam in 2011 and his eventual replacement by Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
In November 2014 Makudi was re-elected contentiously as FAT president after a row over late reforms to the voting system. On that occasion Blatter’s FIFA had come to Makudi’s aid by warning the FAT of possible disciplinary consequences if it failed to approve the changes and go ahead with the election.
That was the last time Zurich came to his rescue.
In early 2015 Makudi travelled widely, including to Qatar as well as to Belfast as a member of FIFA’s International Board delegation, trying to prevent support ebbing away. In the April, however, AFC Congress voted to replace him as its east zone FIFA delegate by Malaysia’s Prince Abdullah, son of a former AFC president.
In July Makudi’s year went from bad to worse when he was handed a 16-month suspended jail term and a $75 fine in Bangkok for electoral fraud concerning the falsifying of documents in the FAT election.
That prompted FIFA ethics prosecutor Cornel Borbely to open inquiries which led, shortly before the re-run of the FAT election in October, to Makudi being suspended for 90 days pending the outcome of a formal investigation.
Internationally the ban went almost unnoticed, coming as it did only a week after similar ‘protective’ action against Blatter, FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke and UEFA president Michel Platini.
Makudi’s suspension was extended for a further 45 days. Not that this apparently prevented him seeking to influence events behind the scenes within the FAT. Hence, in February 2016, he was banned by the FIFA disciplinary committee for three months and fined 3,000 Swiss francs for breaching the previous ban.
Only in July 2016 did the adjudicatory chamber opened formal proceedings against Makudi whose eventual punishment was imposed not only for the unauthorised “forgery and falsification” of FAT statutes but for refusing to cooperate with the investigation.
The World Cup voters — and what happened next
Sepp Blatter (Switzerland) currently awaiting CAS verdict on his appeal against a six-year ethics ban;
Julio Grondona (Argentina) died in July 2014;
Issa Hayatou (Cameroon) still a vice-president, chair of the FIFA finance committee and head of the African confederation;
Mong Joon Chung (South Korean) serving a five-year ban;
Jack Warner (Trinidad and Tobago) banned for life and contesting extradition to the US from Trinidad and Tobago;
Angel Maria Villar Llona (Spain) still serving, also president of the Spanish federation; fined 25,000 Swiss francs for formally cautioned for not co-operating with the ethics committee;
Michel Platini (France) banned from football for four years accepting an irregular payment from FIFA at Blatter’s authorisation;
Geoff Thompson (England) still serving on FIFA committees;
Michel D’Hooghe (Belgium) still serving on FIFA Council;
Ricardo Terra Teixeira (Brazil) quit all football posts; indicted by the US Department of Justice but ‘safe’ in Brazil;
Mohammed Bin Hammam (Qatar) former AFC president, banned for life;
Senes Erzik (Turkey) still serving on FIFA Council;
Chuck Blazer (United States) former CONCACAF general secretary, the FIFAGate whistleblower, banned from football for life;
Worawi Makudi (Thailand) banned for five years this week;
Nicolas Leoz (Paraguay) former CONMEBOL president, contesting extraditing to the United States on a FIFAGate indictment;
Junji Ogura (Japan) retired;
Marios Lefkaritis (Cyprus) still serving on FIFA Council;
Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast) former exco member;
Franz Beckenbauer (Germany) former exco member, reprimanded for non-co-operation with FIFA ethics World Cup votes inquiry; under investigation concerning the German 2006 World Cup cash scandal;
Rafael Salguero (Guatemala) former exco member under FIFAGate indictment;
Hany Abo Rida (Egypt) still serving on FIFA Council;
Vitaly Mutko (Russia) still serving on FIFA Council.