Billionaire to run for Thailand football association president

National team manager and billionaire Nualphan Lamsam, also known as Madam Pang, has decided to compete for Football Association of Thailand (FAT) presidency to get Thai football scene out of crisis.

Lamsam, who’s also chairwoman of Thai club Port, will have the support of Buriram United chairman Newin Chidchob and BG Pathum United chairman Pavin Bhirombkhadi in the run, according to a press conference on Sunday.

Three of the most powerful figures in Thai football will join hands to bring the team to the World Cup when there will be 8.5 qualification slots for Asia instead of 4.5.

Former FAT president Somyot Poompanmuang, who stepped down in July after Thailand made headlines for engaging in brawls at the SEA Games final with Indonesia in May, also supports Lamsam to run for the position.

“What we urgently need at the moment is a united effort to seek income and bring faith and popularity back to Thai football,” Lamsam told Bangkok Post.

Madam Pang, 57, is a businessman, politician and billionaire. She is the fifth generation Lamsam, one of Thailand’s wealthiest families.

In 2008, she became the manager of Thai women’s football and helped the team qualify for the World Cup in 2015 and 2019. In 2015, she became the chairwoman of Port FC and was appointed the manager of the Thailand men’s national team and U23 team in 2021. After letting Vietnam dominate Southeast Asia football for a few years, Thailand returned with two consecutive AFF Cup titles in 2021 and 2022.

According to Siam Sport, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the football industry in Thailand has been severely affected due to financial problems.

FAT failed to find an official broadcaster for Thai League 1 this season.

Without funds from broadcast rights, sponsors and other sources, development projects have been halted. Small clubs won’t be able to survive while big teams will also struggle, Lamsam said.

Lamsam is considered a person with enough influence to gather resources and at the same time has strong financial power to revive the football scene in Thailand.

BG Pathum United chairman Bhirombkhadi will provide support for sports science and training facilities. Meanwhile, Buriram United chairman Chidchob is willing to let the club’s coach Ishii Masatada work as FAT technical director to support national team coach Mano Polking.

The FAT election will start early next year.

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