Bangkok firming as venue for Socceroos
Photo Source: AAP
Australia's World Cup qualifier against Thailand will be staged on neutral territory if last-ditch talks to keep the match in Bangkok fall through, Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop says.
The November 14 clash is in limbo following the death of Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej, which has plunged the nation into mourning, and prompted the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) to ask FFA if the match could be moved, postponed or even made a Socceroos home fixture.
Gallop said there were encouraging signs the match will take place as planned, but due to late notice in finding an appropriate Australian venue, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore are the options if a change is to be made.
The Thai government met with FAT on Monday to discuss the issue with FFA hopeful of an imminent outcome.
"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."
FAT cancelled all remaining domestic fixtures in Thailand following the death of the king, awarding titles and relegating teams from the top division based on current standings despite three rounds still to play.
The country has commenced 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, currently bottom of Group B.