Socceroos' clash with Thailand to be moved
Photo Source: EPA
The Socceroos' next World Cup qualifier will likely be moved to a neutral venue as Thailand mourns the death of its beloved king.
Australia were set to play their final fixture of the year at Bangkok's Rajamangala National Stadium on November 15 (November 16 AEDT).
But this week's passing of 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, has plunged Thailand into a state of grief.
In addition to a year of mourning, the government has ruled entertainment will be heavily toned down and "festivities" avoided for 30 days.
While the Socceroos match falls just outside that window, the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) has submitted a formal request to the AFC and FIFA that the match be shifted to an alternate venue outside the country.
The FAT has also cancelled all remaining domestic fixtures, including the Thai League and League One.
The most likely outcome is that the game will be shifted to a neutral venue somewhere else in southeast Asia such as Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
The AFC and FIFA could also suggest the match be played somewhere in Australia, in a straight swap that would see the Socceroos visit Thailand next year instead.
However, that would be a highly unlikely proposition given the logistics FFA would face in tying down a free venue at such short notice.
The Socceroos' 1-1 draw with Japan this week has seen Ange Postecoglou's team slip to second in their final-phase qualifying group for Russia 2018, two points behind new leaders Saudi Arabia.