Oct 18, 2016

    Will Thais host World Cup qualifier against Australia?


    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 Adulyadej, Football Federation Australia (FFA) said yesterday.

    The venue for the Nov 15 match has been in limbo since the world's longest-reigning monarch died on Thursday aged 88, plunging Thailand into mourning.

    His 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 and Singapore were options.

    "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 30-day period, which ends just before the Socceroos are due to face Thailand.

    Australia are second in Group B of final Asian qualifying for a place at Russia 2018.

    Thailand have yet to earn a point after four games.